By Kevin O’Connor/VTDigger
Vermont skier Ryan Cochran-Siegle has scored Olympic silver in the Super-G at the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.
Cochran-Siegle, 29, of Starksboro won his medal almost 50 years to the day his mother, Barbara Ann Cochran, snagged gold at the 1972 competition in Sapporo, Japan.
Cochran-Siegle skied “a near perfect run,” according to Rutland writer Peggy Shinn, a reporter for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s website, TeamUSA.org.
“He crossed the finish line, took off his skis, looked at the camera and said, ‘What’s up, Vermont. I hope that holds’,” Shinn wrote in her story from China’s Yanqing National Alpine Center.
Cochran-Siegle’s time of 1 minute 19.98 seconds was only four-hundredths of a second behind the winner, defending 2018 gold medalist Matthias Mayer of Austria.
“Part of me recognized that I was skiing well, and trusting that, and just fighting all the way to the finish,” Cochran-Siegle told Shinn after the race. “It’s definitely a special, special run.”
Cochran-Siegle was raised at his family’s namesake Richmond ski area, which his grandfather Mickey Cochran started by installing a rope tow in his backyard.
“Happy, relieved, a little bit of proud,” Cochran-Siegle said when asked about medaling like his mother. “Just really appreciating that I’m here and able to accomplish my childhood dream on a day like today. It’s a lot of really good and positive emotions.”
USA Today deemed Cochran-Siegle’s victory a “surprise” in part because the skier broke his neck in a downhill racing crash just a year ago.
“You dream of these moments,” he told Shinn. “You see it in your mind and at times you have to put it away because you have to just focus on the skiing. That was what I was doing today… I think this was the best second place that I’ll ever get in my life.”