Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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The inside scoop on Sochi

by Ben Stanley

March 06, 2014

The Regional News published an article on Jan. 30 titled "A tale of two climates" profiling Olympic athlete and halfpipe skier Adam Crook. Crook, 21, learned to ski at the Grand Geneva Resort while attending Woods School in Lake Geneva. According to Keith Lofy, a teacher at Woods School, Crook was affectionately called "Island Boy," by faculty and classmates.

Crook was the sole athlete representing the British Virgin Islands (BVI) at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Crook moved to Lake Geneva from the BVI in 2001 with his family so that he and his two older sisters, Ali, 23, and Ashley, 25, could attend high school "in the real world" Crook's mother, Lin, said in a January phone interview.

Crook attended Badger High School for one semester before transfering to IMG Academy in Crested Butte, Colo. From there, Crook transfered to the Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy in Vail, Colo.

Crook now splits time between the BVI and Park City, Utah. He competes internationally as a part of the British Virgin Islands Ski Association, an organization he started in 2010. On March 1, Crook shared his experience as an Olympic athlete with the Regional News.

Regional News: The Sochi Olympics has been met with mixed reviews — veteran Olympic reporter Gary D'Amato of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel defended it as one of the most pleasant, efficient Olympics he's attended in a column, while others have posted videos of wolves wandering around in hotel hallways and pictures of rust-colored water on social media sites. What was your experience like in Sochi?

Adam Crook: My experience in Sochi was great. There were little things that were a bit wacky but other than that I had a very enjoyable time in Russia.

RN: What was it like competing on the Olympic stage?

AC: Competing on the Olympic stage was pretty wild! But to be completely honest it didn't feel quite like I had expected it to. We had really bad weather the night of our contest which I think kept a lot of people from coming out to watch us.

The stands were maybe a quarter full, which even in comparison to an average event is not very many at all. I guess I had expected the Olympics to be a massive crowd that made you shake in your boots but it wasn't at all which I guess, in a way, made it quite nice and relaxing.

RN: Had you competed against many of your Olympic opponents before?

AC: Yes, I have competed against every person in the Olympics at least once in the last four years. A majority of the competitors are some of my closest friends, we get to see each other just about every other week for a couple of months every winter. It's a great community.

RN: Was there a sense of comradery among the athletes in your event, or was the vibe much more competitive?

AC: As I mentioned earlier, we had bad weather the night of the contest which I think might have lifted a lot of the comradery at first, in the tent at the top of the pipe. It's never a very uptight or competitive vibe between the halfpipe or slope style athletes, as we are all just out there to have a good time and do something we all love. It's really great. I think a lot of the other athletes in the Olympics were looking at us during our time in Russia and laughing trying to figure out what we were all doing there. Most everyone else is very serious, in the gym for a lot of the day, strict about eight hours of sleep every night, things like that. We were all there enjoying the experience and making the best of it all while doing our skiing and practicing in the way that works best for us.

RN: What was the best moment of the games for you?

AC: I would say the best moment of the games for me would be walking in during the opening ceremony. It was truly a surreal experience and it's something I will never forget. My parents have been my biggest supporters since day one and for my dad to be able to walk with me was amazing. He's helped me so much along the way and for him to be a part of it all in the end like that was amazing. We were both smiling from ear to ear. It's hard to put it into words.

RN: What was the worst moment of the games for you?

AC: The worst moment at the Olympics for me was probably right after I fell on my second run. In any event, falling on both qualifying runs is heartbreaking, it's really not fun. Sometimes I will dwell on it for a day or two, but it was different at the Olympics. I fell, but after about 10 seconds my spirits were lifted right back. I don't know if it was kind of a monkey of off my back or if it was seeing my family when I got to the bottom, but it was really nice to be able to brush it off like that. It was a long five years working towards the Olympics and although I didn't perform as well as I would have liked to, I have no regrets along the way. It's been an amazing experience.

RN: How were the snow conditions?

AC: The first 15 days before our event I think there was one or two cloudy days and the rest were cloudless, beautiful, blue sky days. It was pretty warm the whole time we were there. The day of my contest it rained on and off all day in the village and at the venue. Our event was at 4:30 p.m. I believe, and just before we started to warm up for the qualifiers it started snowing really heavy, wet snow. Had it kept raining, the speed would've been fine, but with the addition of the new snow it made the snow like wet cement.

This made it very difficult to get anything done in the practice before our event. Everyone had the same conditions to work with but I will say it would've been a totally different contest for everyone had it been nicer weather. It was unfortunate in the fact that this was our first time in front of this big of a viewing, and we had to showcase our sport in sub-par conditions.

RN: How did your family enjoy Sochi?

AC: My family had an amazing time in Sochi. Through our (National Olympic Committee) we were able to get tickets to several events which were really cool to check out. They hardly get to see me compete so it was really exciting for my family and (me). It was amazing to have them there with me. There's no support team like your family.

RN: Can we expect to see you back in 2018?

AC: We'll see! Four years is a long time from now but you never know. Anything can happen, right?