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By Lisa Loomis
Fayston resident and Bormio Olympian Doug Lewis is in Sochi, Russia, this month covering the Olympics. Lewis is working for Westwood One Radio covering all 10 of the alpine races in Sochi. NBC hired Westwood to handle the radio side for them.
The Valley Reporter reached out to Lewis to hear how the second week of the Sochi Winter Games is going.
The Valley Reporter: What has been the highlight of the second week of coverage? What has been the most exciting?
Lewis: Besides calling some of the most exciting ski races ever, I have been enjoying watching the other competitions. I am a sports freak so this is heaven for me. I have been to the cross country, jumping, bobsled, slopestyle and extreme competitions. The venues allow you to get up close to the athletes and competition. You can stand three feet away from the bobsledders while they rush by! My only goal now is to get to biathlon as I have heard the venue and sport is incredible.
The Valley Reporter: What results surprised you the most?
Lewis: The biggest surprise has to be the Silver Medal in the Super-G by Andrew Weibrecht. This guy shocked the world four years ago with the Bronze in the same event. Since then, for many reasons, including injuries, bad luck and lack of confidence, he has struggled. There was some doubt whether he would even make the U.S. Olympic team a month ago. Then, he finds his confidence and puts down a run for the record books. His start number was 29 which was almost the worst draw he could get. He told me after the race that in the starting gate he knew he was training fast and that he was going to attack. It all paid off.
The Valley Reporter: Are you able to get in any free skiing? Can you run the courses?
Lewis: I am able to get Course Access passes each race day and am allowed to inspect the course with the athletes. This is not only critical for me to do my job but my favorite part of my day. During the first week when the weather was cold at night, the snow was very, very slick so even I had trouble just slipping down the speed courses. Of course, I was on rental skis and boots which were a nightmare, but the snow was injected and hard to even stand on without moving. During the inspection I can chat with the coaches and racers and also study the line. This helps me call the races with more detail.
As for free-skiing, I have been in heaven. These mountains are some of the most challenging, huge, interesting and terrain-filled I have ever skied. I have been able to explore the competition mountain a few times and found 3,000-foot groomers but also tiny, steep, sketchy chutes to ski. I want to definitely come back and ski the entire mountain for a week!
The Valley Reporter: How are you enjoying the Russian culture, cuisine and people? What's the best part about being there?
Lewis: Because of my work hours, I have not spent that much time out and about in the local restaurants and such. But when I have, the people are wonderful and interested in connecting. I think the Russians are surprised at how friendly the tourists and athletes and coaches are. Whenever you say hello or good morning they are psyched and surprised and then say it right back in Russian. I think they are amazed at how often we (Americans and all the athletes) smile!