Sochi Olympics Stories from Whistler

25 Medals, 10 GOLD, and an "A+" for Awesomeness


The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games are over and it is time to get back to our day-to-day routine. We hope that for you that will mean lots of skiing or boarding on Whistler Blackcomb. As the athletes return home with their medals and stories, a few Canadian triumphs stand out.

Whistler Stands Out in Several Stories

Yuki Tsubota, Marielle Thompson and Alex Beaulieu-Marchand all have ties to Whistler, and all three made the Olympic team for freestyle skiing.

Alex Beaulieu-Marchand is from Quebec City and made the national team in 2012. He is 19 years old, a year younger than teammate Yuki, but he competes in the same event, slopestyle skiing. Alex knew he wanted to ski slopestyle from the young age of 12, when he asked him mom if he could go to the legendary summer camp here in Whistler. His mom said long as he paid for it himself.

And this is where the story starts. Alex, undaunted, chose to knit touques which he sold to earn the $1000 for the camp. He said, "My sister's friend knitted hats, so I learned from her and sold them to friends at school. I would make a hat and if you wanted a pompom or something written on it, then I would do that and it would be more money." (ONS, 05 Feb 2014) He made the money, flew across Canada to Whistler, and never looked back. Thanks, in part, to the camp, Alex was the lone male competitor in men's slopestyle skiing this year, the first year for the sport in the Olympics.

Hometown Skiers Yuki Tsubota and Marielle Thompson

Yuki Tsubota grew up in Whistler, but only started skiing when she was 10 years old. One night, while eating sushi with her mother, she began to talk to Tavish Sutherland, a coach at the Blackcomb freestyle club. He encouraged her to try out the new sport, and she has never looked back. Yuki, only 20 years old, represented Canada for women's slopestyle skiing this year in Sochi. She earned a silver medal at the Dew tour in 2012, bronze in the 2012 AFP World Championship, and 2012 FIS World Cup Competition where she finished 5th. This year, she was ready to shine, and had some great trial runs, but unfortunately took a fall in the finals. Her crash has been often reported as "scary to watch". The tumble, however, seems to have been thankfully minor. She is doing well, and recovering with "only" a jaw injury. That same day, her teammates Dara Howell and Kim Lamarre took gold and bronze.


Marielle Thompson competed in ski cross, the same sport that fellow Whistlerite Ashleigh McIvor competed in during the Whistler Olympic Games in 2010. And just like Ashleigh, Marielle brought home the gold, which means that Canadians, in fact Whistlerites, have earned every gold medal so far in this sport.

The medal earned was a 1 - 2 finish, with fellow British Columbian Kelsey Serwa bringing home the silver. The two helped each other during the race, which they seemed to think was a natural thing to do. This attitude helped Canada "bookmark" the freestyle events, since Canada began with a 1 - 2 finish in the beginning. In fact, freestyle skiing has brought four 1 - 2 finishes to Canada, a record.

Tell Your Whistler Olympics Stories 

We're really proud of the Whistler connection in these stories, and hope you'll share them around. We think Whistler has helped some fine athletes really reach their mark and fulfill their potential. Maybe it's in the air, maybe it's excellent coaching. Who knows? All we know is that we're a little bit more proud today of our ski town, for helping these amazing athletes become their best. 

Posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2014

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