PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – It’s not too hard to figure out who is rooting for whom at the Olympics.
National pride is on full display, and Wednesday’s women’s slalom ski race, in which star Mikaela Shiffrin was out to defend her gold medal from four years ago before it was postponed, had its share of American fans who were both loud and proud.
There were some who just love the Olympics, and build their travel plans around them. Others were there because of a connection to the US team.
Let’s meet a few.
Chris Jacob and Denis Chagnon
The two friends from Lake Placid, N.Y., really love the Olympics. They were wearing distinctive home-made jump suits with large “Ski the Face” patches from their home mountain, Whiteface, where the 1980 Olympic ski events were held.
They wore countless pins that they’d acquired, and had their own supply of Lake Placid Olympics pins to share with others. They also had replica gold medals draped around their necks, and “Lake Placid and “Pyeongchang” written across the backs of their suits.
Jacob was attending his first Olympics, while Chagnon was on No. 10, including six winter games.
“In the Winter Olympics, I’ll watch curling. It’s the only time. We live near Canada, and it’s on, but the only time I watch it is the Olympics, and I love it. Once every four years, it’s fun to watch,” Jacob said.
Just a week after the one major sports event – the Super Bowl – was played in their back yard in Minnesota, Thostenson and her companions attended their third Olympics. They all wore Team USA gear.
“We’re Winter Olympics fans, so we went to Vancouver, Sochi, and now here,” she said. “We try to do something different at every Olympics we’ve gone to, so we went to speed skating, figure skating this time, and we’re going to hockey and freestyle slopestyle.”
Thostenson said she was hoping to see Shiffrin win gold.
“She’s amazing,” she said.
The Golden, Colo., resident and her friend certainly stood out in the crowd as the stands began to fill. They were wearing distinctive jumpsuits with stars and stripes and had USA in giant red letters on the back. They are made by a company called Tipsy Elves.
“We got these outfits specifically for opening ceremony,” Ganter said. “We were like these fashion models.”
Ganter works for US Ski and Snowboard.
“I work on the foundation side, we’re here with our donors who have come to see the Olympics. Today is a big day. I’ve got Team Shiffrin with me,” she said.Matt Pepin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mattpep15.