LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – Some of the best skiers in the nation have arrived in Lake Placid ahead of two events that will determine who gets to move on to the winter games in Beijing.
On Thursday, athletes and their families gathered for an opening ceremony at the Olympic Jumping Complex.
Neena and Maya Brubaker, sisters of 18 year-old winter games hopeful Carter Brubaker, said it’s an opportunity their brother has been dreaming about since his early days on the mountain.
“He’s had Olympics as his goal for forever, he had a poster on his door, it was his screensaver, it’s always been his goal,” Neena Brubaker said.
The Brubakers traveled all the way from Alaska for the trials, and will watch Carter in the Nordic Combined Competition on Friday. He’s been training in Norway for two years, all building up to this moment.
“He’s worked really hard to come here, so no matter what, we’re going to be proud,” said Maya Brubaker. “There’s definitely certain goals he’s trying to reach, and it’s a lot more stress having us here – we haven’t watched his competitions yet. He’s going to do great.”
Others in the opening ceremony crowd didn’t come to Lake Placid with a rooting interest – they just wanted to spend Christmas in the thick of the action.
“We live up in Maine, my daughter goes to the University of Vermont,” said Christa Johnson. “We wanted to do something different this Christmas and we’re huge adrenaline junkies, so we picked her up in Burlington this morning, arrived this afternoon, and we’re here for the next four or five days.”
As for the athletes, they’re ready to go. That includes hometown hero Nina Lussi, who got a warm reception from the crowd as she was introduced Thursday night. The 4-time U.S. National Champion is hoping to finally claim her spot in the winter games after an ACL injury derailed those hopes four years ago in this same event.
A full competition schedule for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as well as additional information about the events can be found here.