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“Closer to the Olympics”
Written by Jin Chey | Published. 2018.04.04 16:04 | Count : 588

On the field with millions of people watching, athletes are displayed all over the world via social media and technology. The Olympics are even more influential due to its global scale. After watching the Olympics, children start to look up to the athletes. As I have been a competitive ski racer, I admired many skiers. During the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games, I worked as a crew member of the “professional workforce” in alpine skiing and was able to meet my heroes.

[On the slope during the Slalom or Giant Slalom races - taken by Jin Chey]

I was really excited to participate in the Olympics as a volunteer since it would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me. As I grew up with a passion for alpine skiing and have always been competitive ski racer, it was a great opportunity to closely watch the athletes. Since I have special memories with both Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin, I was most excited to see them. I met Lindsey Vonn in Korea when I was a 6th grader, as the representative of the Korea National Junior Ski Team. As an athlete, she overcame major injuries, such as her broken back, arms, ACL, and countless more. However, she captured an all-time win record on the women's side with 76 World Cup wins. In addition to her 2010 Olympic downhill gold and super G bronze, she holds five World Championship medals. She also claimed that this would be her last Olympic appearance, so I really wanted to see her last Olympic race. In addition to my encounter with Lindsey Vonn, I also met Mikaela Shiffrin when I went to St. Moritz to compete in Future Champions Ski race last year. Mikaela Shiffrin is the reigning overall World Cup champion, the reigning world champion in slalom, and a four-time winner of the World Cup discipline title. Shiffrin is the youngest slalom champion in Olympic alpine skiing history from Sochi at the age of 18.

By working as a crew member of the professional workforce in alpine skiing in February, I was able to become closer with the athletes. The Olympics Association only allowed professional ski racers with years of certified experience to volunteer as a crew member of the professional workforce in alpine skiing due to the specific responsibilities and skills that were required to work on the steep and icy slope. I was one of only three teenagers to be selected, and it was very arduous for me to handle the 10 hours work each day. From 7am in the morning, I helped side slip and set up the gates on the course. Side-slippers play a huge role in success of alpine ski races since their job is to slide sideways down the course, smoothing it out with the metal edges of their skis before the race, during the race, and even after the race. During the race, from 9am to 2pm, I skied down on the Olympic slope after each skier raced. After the race, along with other participants, I pulled out the gates and organized them. The day normally ended at 5pm after completely setting the gates for the next day. However, it was a huge honor for me to work and be a part of the Olympics. 

[With Two-time Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety - taken by Jin Chey]

Overall, it was an amazing and rare opportunity and I simply enjoyed being a part of the Olympics. It was even more special for me since the ski races were held on the Rainbow One slope in Yongpyong Ski Resort which is the slope that I used to train when I raced in Korea. As one of the slip-sliding crews, I could also acknowledge that all these hard work which happen behind the scenes enable the Olympic to shine and end successfully. Lastly, I was thrilled to become closer to the athletes and view the Olympic from a different perspective as a participant of the Olympic as a volunteer worker.





Jin Chey 
Grade 9
Indian Mountain School (IMS)

Jin Chey  student_reporter@dherald.com

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