Inside the Olympics: The burning questions asked of Steamboat Olympians |

Inside the Olympics: The burning questions asked of Steamboat Olympians

Olympic silver medalist and Steamboat Ski Area Director of Skiing Billy Kidd gives Willow Washaubaugh some pointers after racing in 2013.
Ben Ingersoll/File

Being an Olympian comes with plenty of perks and some responsibility, such as finding a way to answer the same questions over and over again. We got inside the life of local Olympians and got the answers to their most frequently asked questions.

What is it like?

The short answer: “Pretty awesome”

Bryan Fletcher Nordic combined, 2014, 2018

“I tell them the story of when I did the TV opening for the Albertville Games in 1992 by putting on a pair of hockey skates and ice-skating down the course to show how hard the course was. I’m still amazed the IOC let me do it. If my blade had gone through the ice, it would have delayed the entire event.”

Billy Kidd Alpine, 1964 — silver in slalom, 1968

Did you win a medal?

“It’s nice to talk about winning a medal in France when the French team was so strong, and the crowds were so crazy.”

Nelson Carmichael Moguls, 1988, 1992 — bronze medal

Was it a gold?

“When I say, ‘Yes, I won medals,’ they always ask if it was a gold. When I say ‘no,’ they always say that silver is still pretty good. It’s pretty funny, really.”

Johnny Spillane Nordic combined, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 — three silvers

What does it feel like having a gold medal placed around your neck?

“For me, that’s one of the last things that I think about pertaining to that day. It’s more about what I felt like in the starting gate, on the course, and at the finish line, knowing I had left it all on the hill with zero room for regret. The medal was just the gravy, not at all the profound experience others make it out to be. The medal experience was secondary to the actual racing experience.“

Deb Armstrong Alpine, 1984 — gold in giant slalom, 1988

What’s racing downhill like?

“You’re going an average speed of 65 mph for two miles on solid, rock-hard ice, so you have very good incentive not to fall down because you’ll go straight to the hospital.”

Billy Kidd

How are you knees?

“I must have inherited good genes because my knees are fine.”

Nelson Carmichael

Is it really just a giant party?

“I reply, ‘well, yes.’ There are athletes who go out after their events; however, most are very serious. They want a medal and don’t want to get sick. Most athletes are like caged animals on the pinnacle of performance and ready to snap if you get one germ in their atmosphere. And even when the events are over, most athletes still have several events left in the season where they need to race well. So, no it’s not a giant party … but it’s pretty fun nonetheless.”

Bryan Fletcher

Where were you?

“The Olympics have gone to some pretty weird places, so everyone wants to know where I was.”

Jim “Moose” Barrows Alpine, 1968, Grenoble, France

‘What was the most important part of your experience?’ and ‘What does racing in the OIympics mean?’

I never knew quite how to answer those. It’s just a great opportunity for yourself and the sport, and it’s super fun. And the best part is that at the Olympics, you only have to beat four Austrians and four Swiss—at every other race you have to beat tons of them.”

Moose Barrows

What’s the best part of the Olympic experience?

Representing your country, family, friends, town and everything and everyone you were a part of growing up.

Chad Fleischer Alpine, 1994, 1998

The best questions

Q: Are your ski boots for walking on the moon?

Q: How does one find their passion in life?

Q: Where are the best-looking girls from at the Olympics?

Q: Do they really give out condoms in the Olympic Village?

The worst question

Q: Why didn’t you win a medal?

— Eugene Buchanan

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