The Mountain Times

°F Thu, April 24, 2014

Central Vermont's Most Popular Weekly Newspaper

Insights on the Sochi Olympics from Dan Egan

Dan Egan, who is known locally to Mountain Times readers as a famous extreme skier - one of Powder Magazine's Top Skiers of All Time - and who now leads backcountry clinics for Killington, is in Sochi as a commentator for Boston.com, where he has a weekly blog and radio show.
Egan has been at the forefront of the extreme-sports scene since the mid-1980s and has led adventure trips from the Alps to the Arctic. One of his companies, Skiclinics.com, runs camps and clinics across North and South America and Europe. Another company, Degan Media, a consulting, marketing and production company, leverages his 25 years of experience in the action-sports industry. As a producer, his programs have run nationally via broadcast and cable syndication. Corporations, universities and schools around North America have also hired him as a motivational speaker over the last decade.
He began commentating in 1996, and also hosts sports shows for NESN. He has been on television and radio since then and currently is a reporter on Extreme Sports for Boston.com. This is Egan's third Olympics commentating gig - he covered Vancouver (2010) for Sprint, and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London for Sperry Shoes.
With his diverse background, The Mountain Times asked Egan if he would share some thoughts on the Sochi Olympics.

Q&A
MT: What events you covering?
DE: My assignment is all snow sports, so I will be based at the Mountain Cluster up at Sochi.  

MT: What will you be looking at when you comment?
DE: I like the personalities that work at and participate in the Olympics. Interviewing people who are "Peak Performers" is always educational and motivational. So I like to see what drives people to reach the top of their activities.

MT: How long are you there?  
DE: I left the states on January 31 and will be back on the 24th of February. So long enough to miss the great USA and also long enough to settle into the Olympic Vibe.

MT: Any comments on Sochi as venue?
DE: Well this is my second trip to Sochi. I came over in 2010 when I was a finalist to be the GM at the Resort holding the games. It is amazing to see how the whole city has been transformed in such a short time. The Olympic movement is a powerful one and it is a transformative one as well. The Olympics leave an impression on those who view it, those who experience it, and the places that host it.

MT: What do you think about chances for Team USA in various events?  
DE: Team USA is going to leave its mark here in Sochi-Ted Ligety and Mikeala Shiffrin, will continue to dominate. I think Bode and Julia Mancuso will both medal. We will podium in the snowboard men's and women's half pipe and David Wise will crush it in the men's skiing half pipe. Then there will also be the unknowns who peak at the games as well.

MT: What insights can you offer readers on the significance of the games - for the athletes, for the US, for the world?
DE: Slope style skiing is going to be a highlight of the games. But for sure the Women's Ski Jumping will be huge. The American's will be on top of the podium there for sure.  
The Olympics always bring the spotlight to the smaller sports, Nordic, Bob Sled, Luge, and Skeleton. These sports shine at the games and they bring out some amazing stories from all over the world. I am going to cover the South African and Thailand skiers, one in skier cross and one in GS.

MT: We have quite a few Vermonters participating this year (granted, some are natives who grew up here and moved on to other states like Teter and Clark and some went to academies here but were born elsewhere). Any predictions on what we can expect?  
DE: Well both Hannah Teter and Kelly Clark will be stars here at the Games and it's hard to count either of them out. Devin Logan from Mount Snow will be another one to watch for sure.  
And don't forget Doug Lewis from Sugarbush; you can listen in to him at NBC Radio.

MT: Can you give us insights as to why you personally like to attend the Olympics?
DE: I have been associated with Olympians for a long time, and now covering the Olympics you really start to understand what it is all about.
The athletes always talk about the dedication it takes to get to the Games and it does, it takes a lot of focus. The qualifying process for the Games is brutal and long.
Attending the Olympics is special because it's about national pride, and it's my country against yours competing in sport. The essence of that is good-hearted, friendly competition and above all it's fun.
The Olympic movement brings together people of all nations from all economic situations and fosters communication, relationships, and experiences that transcend even our electronic culture - and that is a good thing.

MT: Can you share any insights from your observations about the Olympians as people?
DE: There are two questions I always ask Olympians. One is, "What would a medal mean to you?"  
The common answer is "Everything!"
My follow-up is always, "Can you define everything?"  
That is when the conversation turns interesting because now they have to think about their past, where they came from, who helped them, and how they got to the Olympics. Olympians are not made by themselves; it's the parents, the coaches, the mentors and the people surrounding them who create, shape, and define them.  
When the athlete appreciates that, it is usually a special moment in time.

Thank you Dan. It's been a pleasure, as always, to get your thoughtful insights.
Readers can follow Dan's travels and thoughts at  www.boston.com/sports/other_sports/olympics/extras/olympics_blog/