With so many great moments and a lot of competitive world-class racing now in the rearview mirror, ski enthusiasts from across the globe turn their attention to next month’s winter Olympic games in Sochi.
One such story of Olympic hopefuls took one step closer to the dream right here on the very hillsides of Midway last Wednesday.
Husband and wife combo, Brian and Caitlin Gregg of Minneapolis, took silver and gold, respectively, in their events. Brian finished second in the Men’s 30K mass start behind Sylvan Ellefson of Vail.
In the following race, Mrs. Gregg took the gold by a dominating four minutes in the Women’s 20K mass start.
“It’s always good to come out on top in the one you really want,” said Gregg after her victory. “I’m very pleased to show everyone I’m still skiing.”
The Greggs endeared themselves to the local Soldier Hollow cross-country scene by arriving to train a week in advance. That gave them the opportunity to not only workout in preparation for the championships, but to work with Team Soldier Hollow and some of the kids on the youth team.
“We loved that part of it,” said Brian. “We work with kids back in Minneapolis in our own ‘In The Arena’ program, so it was a lot of fun to get out there with the kids from around here.”
The physical demands of a sport like cross-country skiing can leave globe-trotting athletes in need of extra care for their bodies. Caitlin and Brian both use regular massage therapy to keep themselves competition ready. “We are so lucky to have found Michelle while we were here,” Caitlin said of local orthopedic sports guru, Michelle Barnhart, owner of Summit Orthopedic and Sports Massage. “She’s taken such good care of us, we were like… ‘no way we’ll get through these two weeks without getting worked on’—so she’s been such a blessing.”
Team Gregg, outfitted in fun dinosaur themed ski jackets, have been skiing together for many years and keep these events a family affair.
In addition to having their parents on hand, Caitlin’s longtime mentor and former Olympian Laurie Grover- Humbert was at the finish line of the 20K. “I owe so much this lady… my silent angel,” Gregg said with her arm around her teary-eyed friend.
“I can’t really take any credit,” said a proud Grover-Humbert. “I’m just so happy for her. It was only a few years ago when she was down and giving it up. But I believed in her. I always have.”
After receiving their medals, the Greggs whisked to the airport for a flight to Europe to join the World Cup team in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic for more sprint race qualifying.
“Our dream, our goal is to get back to the Olympics,” said Brian. “This time, though, as Team Gregg.”