The XXII Olympic Winter Games are on from February 6 to 23 in Sochi, Russia, and they’ll be watched by millions around the world. The Sun Peaks community can tune in knowing that some local blood is there too.
Both Gabe Dewey and Rod Honey are Service Technicians for the Canadian Olympic team. Dewey will be responsible for the Canadian Slopestyle Snowboard Team’s equipment while Honey is there with the Canadian Ski Cross Team.
Dewey, who lives and skis in Sun Peaks, will be in Rosa Khutor, Russia, where the slopestyle events are held, between January 31 and February 13.
“Essentially I’ll be tuning boards at night,” explains Dewey. “(During the day) I’ll be watching weather conditions and forecasts closely, and listening to rider feedback to see if what I’m doing to their boards is effective or not.”
Dewey was the technician for the Great Britain snowboard half-pipe team during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and is excited to be working with the Canadians this time round.
“My last Olympics I worked for a different country so to work for the Canadian athletes is something I’m really looking forward to,” he says.
Nancy Greene Raine, Canadian senator and gold medalist in giant slalom at the 1968 Grenoble, France Winter Olympics, insists that technicians play a key role in the Olympic athlete’s performance.
“(Techs) are very important. The quality of the tuning can make a huge difference. A person can win or lose depending on how their skis are waxed,” she says.
Raine has a personal connection with the Olympics this year, too, as her son, Willy, will be coaching the Canadian Ski Cross team. As for Raine, her commitments to the senate are keeping her busy so she’ll be watching and cheering the athletes from home.
“I think I’ll be like most Canadians — sitting by our televisions whenever we can and following the Olympics on the Internet,” she says. “We’ve got athletes in almost every category. They’ve got experience and good training and they’re winning on the World Cup level. I think they’re going to do very well.”
Local alpine athlete Elli Terwiel has been pushing hard to get to the Olympics this year but her chances were hindered due to a fall in training that resulted in a mild concussion. Terwiel is now back on snow and should know by January 26 whether she made the Olympic team or not.
“Even if I don’t become a member of the Olympic team this year, I feel my journey has been an ‘Olympic Journey,’ ” says Terwiel. “The pursuit of the Olympics has made me a human of ‘Olympic’ personal strength and determination. It has been a worthwhile ride.”
Announced on January 27, Terwiel will, in fact, be representing Canada at the Sochi Olympics. Her journey has been, and continues to be, an ‘Olympic Journey.’
When you tune in to watch your fellow Canadians this February, remember those in the background who work to give each athlete every fighting chance.