Over the years I have had the privilege of photographing some phenomenal athletes on their road to becoming Olympians. Here are some of the highlights, starting with my favorites that are in Sochi competing for Canada:
Heidi is a powerhouse sprinter, raised in beautiful Banff Alberta and making her Olympic debut in Sochi. I was lucky enough to meet her parents Lorrie and Erwin skiing the Haute Route in 2000 and have been following their amazing family ever since. Heidi is the youngest of four with brothers Phil and Matthew and sister Angela - Phil blazing the family Olympian x-country sprinter trail to Torino in 2006. Heidi's Olympic road brought her to Southern Ontario twice where I was able to capture the images on the left. In 2008 it was for the Canadian World Junior and U23 Trials and in 2009 the National Cross Country Ski Championships - both at Highland Nordic Centre, Duntroon ON. Cheer her on in Sochi @HWiddy and visit www.HeidiWidmer.com.
Larisa's story is one of talent, inner-strength and determination. Hailing from Owen Sound Ontario, I had many opportunities to photograph her racing as a 'youngster'. It was clear she was headed to the World Cup Downhill circuit. A devastating knee injury just before the Vancouver Olympics put Larisa on the sidelines for two seasons. Against all odds and cut from the national team, she fought her way back, self-funded, to earn her spot for Sochi. Cheer on Larisa at Sochi @larisaYurkiw and visit www.LarisaYurkiw.com.
Erin burst onto the southern Ontario Mars FIS and Pontiac Cup race scene in the 2005/2006 season as a 15 year old, finishing races far higher than her seeding. I remember her most, though, for her father Andy's dedication to being on the hill every time she was racing - and for his taking the time to chat with me and show his appreciation for my work promoting ski racing. Erin has continued to excel, winning her first World Cup Slalom race in Otterschwang, Germany in 2012. Having raced at the Vancouver Olympics, she is now a second time Olympian in Sochi, racing GS and Slalom. Cheer Erin on in Sochi @erinmielzynski and visit www.erinmielzynski.com.