Races a distraction for skier whose sister is in Iraq | SteamboatToday.com

Races a distraction for skier whose sister is in Iraq

— Most of the skiers in Steamboat Springs this week were clearly focused on the Junior Olympics.

But for Steamboat Springs skier Vikki Brown, the ski races acted as more of a distraction.

The races were a perfect way to pull her away from the television, radio and newspaper coverage of the war with Iraq.

“I don’t want to watch television,” Brown said. “It’s been hard to ski. I worry about my sister all the time.”

Brown’s 23-year-old sister, Paula, is assigned to the USS Tarwa, which is currently somewhere in the Persian Gulf entangled in the war.

So while Brown tries to remain focused on skiing, it is understandable that her attention drifts at times to the events in the Middle East and the aircraft carrier where her sister is stationed.

“She keeps it pretty much to herself,” coach Scott Wither said. “But everybody on the team knows the situation.”

Brown decided to show her pride a few week’s ago by stitching an American flag on the shoulder of her speed suit. She said that it has gone unnoticed by most of the other skiers in this week’s events, but she knows that it is there.

“I’m skiing for my sister,” she said on Saturday between slalom runs at Howelsen Hill.

Brown and her family moved to Colorado from Massachusetts when she was just one year old. The family moved to Steamboat four years ago and Vikki began skiing with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. During the summer, the Browns live in the Denver area. Brown’s father is a retired Marine.

Her sister has been in the Navy for the past four years and just recently re-enlisted. Her aircraft carrier was sent to Persian Gulf prior to the start of operation Iraqi Freedom.

Brown said she keeps in touch with Paula, who graduated from Highlands Ranch High School in Denver, via e-mail.

“She sends us pictures of her ship group all the time,” Brown said.

Brown finished 34th and 56th in the final two events of the J-4 Junior Olympic Championships on Saturday.

It wasn’t exactly the way she wanted to finish up this year’s championships, but she was quick to point out that she is just happy she lives in a country where people have the freedom to take part in events like the Junior Olympic Championships.

“I’m very proud of my sister,” Brown said. “She is over there fighting so that I can ski.”

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