The Games of the XXII Winter Olympiad in Sochi, Russia, have come to a close, and once again, the University of Denver was well-represented.
Performing to the greatest level of achievement for the Pioneers was Kevin Dineen, head coach of the Canadian women’s hockey team. Dineen (attd. 1981–83), a former hockey captain at DU, guided the Canadian team to the gold medal in a 3-2, come-from-behind, overtime victory over the rival United States.
American figure skater Gracie Gold, ever the perfectionist as the discipline demands, at least looks the part along her desired path to prominence.
Sitting at attention on stage in Park City, Utah, late last year, cross-legged in front of a group of reporters, the 18-year-old had a faultless smile and not a hair out of place among her blonde locks. Gold appeared as if she awoke wearing her perfectly applied red stiletto lipstick—sponsor CoverGirl, of course—which she also modeled via Twitter and Instagram after setting down at the Olympic Village. She maintained that focusing on the task at hand, medaling for at the winter games, won’t be a problem.
Nearly every athlete has experienced it, that moment right before heading into competition when the palms get sweaty, the mind races, and the stomach does a cartwheel. The pressure is on.
For snowboarder Jamie Anderson, recent Olympic gold medalist in Sochi, this moment is at the crest of the hill as she lingers by herself standing on her board for a few seconds, looking down at the slopestyle course. Even though she’s dominated the event the last few years, to the tune of first or second place in 20 of her last 24 contests, the debut of slopestyle at the Winter Games was a whole new challenge, but one for which she’s been training mentally for a while now.
The traffic. It’s hard to miss and, as a visitor to India, not let it skew your perception of the place, where—cliché or not—it seems both pervasive and symbolic of the society as a whole, including at the Olympics.
In New Delhi, the capital city of the second-most populated nation in the world (behind only China), motorists appear to ignore all directive in an attempt to reach their own destinations. Regularly drivers straddle white stripes that distinguish the road’s lanes, or ride the shoulder, where many pedestrians walk. It’s not uncommon to see a moped cruise the pavement, and at roundabouts vehicles of all sizes and shapes, from the ubiquitous three-wheeled motorized rickshaws to bikes, buses, motorcycles and Mercedes, cumbersomely converge upon these commuter loops. The horns beep, howl, and bray from every direction not as a sound of caution, but as a method for announcing an individual’s arrival, each forcing themselves toward separate agendas. As the noticeable haze of pollution settles in over the city each night, most simply go about their daily business.
Interested in portraits of some of the United States’ top Olympians in Sochi? Look no further.
Here, nine behind-the-scenes features spanning 16 of America’s brightest Winter Games hopefuls, including skiers Bode Miller and Mikaela Shiffrin, snowboarders Kelly Clark and Jamie Anderson and The Night Train, The U.S. four-man bobsled team.
More than 40 current and former Pioneers have represented the University of Denver as either athletes or coaches at the Olympics dating back to the 1948 Winter Games in St. Moritz, Switzerland—and that’s just in alpine skiing. Add in the other world-class competitors from both the Summer and Winter Games, and that number becomes even more impressive.
“I think it just talks about the quality of this academic institution,” says Peg Bradley-Doppes, vice chancellor for athletics, recreation and Ritchie Center operations. “It attracts outstanding student-athletes, outstanding coaches who have the desire and also the talent to compete at the highest level possible. This upcoming Olympics won’t be any different.”