Winter Olympians are fans of Summer Games, too
The buildup to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has been a disaster so far.
Whether it’s concerns about the Zika virus, sewage in the water, a jaguar getting shot, riots in the streets over political turmoil or construction delays, something always seems to be going wrong in the Olympic host city.
Having gone through similar concerns before the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, many local Olympic athletes can understand what the summer athletes are going through.
But when the Games start on Aug. 5, the world’s eyes will be on the athletes — the best of the best from all across the globe in their respective disciplines.
Many of the Winter Olympians who spend time in Park City will be tuned in to the events, watching Team USA’s men and women compete for gold medals. Here are some of their favorite sports to watch:
Emily Cook, Olympic aerialist (2006, 2010 and 2014)
Emily Cook, who, after breaking her feet just before the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics, went on to qualify for the next three Winter Games, enjoys watching a sport that is similar to aerials.
“For sure, I’ll be watching the diving really closely,” she said. “One of the athletes I’ve gotten to know is Abby Johnston, one of the synchro divers. She is amazing and incredibly smart and kind — she’s going to med school at Duke as well. She’s a really accomplished human being and it’ll be really fun to watch her compete.”
But, Cook added, she’ll be watching more than just the diving competitions.
“I always love the track and field events and of course I love gymnastics,” she said. “Those athletes are so strong and so courageous — it’s definitely one of the hardest sports in the world.”
Mac Bohonnon, Olympic aerialist (2014)
Mac Bohonnon, the lone American male aerialist to qualify for the Sochi Olympics, said his favorite summer sport is something he and his teammates do a lot during the offseason.
“I would say trampoline, for sure,” he said. “Obviously trampoline is a big part of our training. I do quite a few trampoline shows around the country.”
Bohonnon has done trampoline shows in New York, Jackson Hole, Colorado Springs, Chicago, San Francisco and various places in Utah, among other locations, he said.
Through those shows, he’s gotten to know Team USA’s only male trampoline qualifier — Logan Dooley.
“I’ve been bouncing in shows with him for three-and-a-half years,” Bohonnon said. “He was the [non-competing] alternate for the 2008 and 2012 Olympics [in Beijing and London, respectively]. This go-round, he finally qualified. It’ll be fun to watch him compete.”
Bryan Fletcher, Olympic Nordic combined athlete (2014)
As a Nordic combined athlete, Bryan Fletcher does a lot of endurance training, so it’s no surprise some of his favorite summer events to watch are some of the most difficult.
“Cycling is always a sport I’ve kept a close eye on,” he said. “It’s a fun event to watch, especially coming off the Tour de France. In the past, I’ve typically watched the swimming quite a bit and gymnastics is always a good one. Any of the endurance sports are interesting to watch.”
In addition to the endurance events, though, Fletcher also enjoys watching a sport that reminds him of his upbringing in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
“One of the interesting events I’ve always enjoyed watching is whitewater kayaking,” he said. “I grew up in Steamboat and kayaked quite a bit when I was younger. Probably every day after school, I’d go with friends.”
Sarah Hendrickson, Olympic ski jumper (2014)
Sarah Hendrickson’s Olympic debut came in Sochi, where she participated in the first-ever Olympic women’s ski jumping event.
As she works toward the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, she said she’ll draw inspiration from the U.S. gymnastics squad.
“Since I was young, I have loved watching women’s gymnastics,” she said. “I am always blown away by their athleticism and dedication. Watching the ‘Fab Five’ in London was really amazing and I’m looking forward to the new team in Rio. Their hard work really does motivate me to work harder.”
Watch a Parkite in action
Park City native Devery Karz qualified for the 2016 Summer Olympics as a member of the U.S. Rowing Team. Karz and teammate Kate Bertko will compete in the women’s lightweight double sculls event.
Karz qualified for the Olympics in April, finishing first by nearly 12 seconds at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Team Trials in Sarasota, Florida.
Women’s lightweight double sculls athletes will compete Aug. 7-12 in Rio. Finals for the event are scheduled for Friday, Aug. 12, at 5 a.m. Mountain time.
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