Gold twice over for Steamboat skiers
April 5, 2017
Steamboat Springs — A distance of more than 5,000 miles can do a bit to dull the drama, but nevertheless, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club moguls coach Kate Blamey sat awake in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, eyes fixed on the screen as she somewhat patiently waited for a new result to load.
It seemed to take forever.
"Sometimes, I'd wonder if my internet had stopped working," she said.
The news trickled in, but what news it was.
A second of the skiers Blamey coached in Steamboat had won a gold medal in the Freestyle Junior World Ski Championships in Chiesa in Valmalenco, Italy.
First it was Trudy Mickel on Tuesday, nailing three consecutive runs to win the moguls competition.
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A day later it was Olivia Giaccio, "bouncing back" from a third-place finish on Tuesday to win the dual moguls competition on Wednesday.
"It's great, both taking away wins," Blamey said. "Winning singles for Trudy is huge — a huge accomplishment. She skied really great and consistent on all three runs. That was the goal heading over there, and it was exciting."
Blamey could only do so much coaching from her home in Steamboat Springs but talked to the athletes after training each day, traded text messages after their triumphs and reviewed some video shot by Mickel's family on the scene in Italy.
Mickel began working with Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club last May, moving to town from Telluride. Giaccio moved to Steamboat in 2015 after working in Vail. She then made the U.S. Ski Team last spring and moved to Park City, Utah.
Tuesday, Mickel had a clean run to advance to the 16-skier finals, then was third to qualify for the six-skier super final. There, she was the best, winning in what was her first international competition.
"She's a great athlete, young and hungry," Blamey said.
She said some of Mickel's biggest improvements since arriving in Steamboat last May has came in the gym.
"She's doubled if not tripled all of her testing results there," Blamey said. "She's a lot strong, a lot fitter and has really learned how to be an elite level athlete in the last 12 months. " Now she has a result to show for that work.
Giaccio's win capped an already strong season in which she won rookie of the year honors on the World Cup. Her best result came in a dual moguls event in Japan, where she earned her first World Cup podium with a third-place finish.
She made the country's World Ski Championships team and competed in Sierra Nevada, Spain, for that event, placing 15th in moguls and 17th in dual moguls. Then, she again made the trip overseas for Junior World Championships where she added to her medal haul, collecting two more podium finishes.
"She had a little mistake in super finals on Tuesday, and she was a little disappointed, but she knew what was wrong and how to fix it," Blamey said. "It was a great experience for her in singles, then she went out hungry and looking for the win in duals.
"It really exciting they were able to share it together,” Blamey added. “They really pushed themselves through the entire week there, and they were able to achieve those results together."