Middlebury standout heads to Winter Olympic Games
MIDDLEBURY — Simeon “Simi” Hamilton, a 2009 Middlebury College graduate, will compete at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games taking place in Sochi, Russia.
The former Panther Nordic racer, a geology major, will be taking part in his second Olympic games after representing the U.S. in 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.
Also representing Middlebury will be Forest Carey, a 2000 graduate and former Panther alpine skier, who will serve as a U.S. Ski Team coach.
Hamilton, 26, made history just over a month ago with an incredible performance on New Year’s Eve. He won stage three of the 2013–2014 FIS Tour de Ski, a 1.5-kilometer freestyle sprint. In doing so, he became the first American male to win a World Cup race since Bill Koch won the Sarajevo Winter Olympics 30K in February 1983.
Hamilton said he will be mindful of his Middlebury experience while he is in Sochi.
“As I gear up for my second Winter Olympics, I’m reminded on a daily basis of the values I learned as a Middlebury student; the power of hard work, commitment and passion for doing something that you love,” said Hamilton.
The highlight of Hamilton’s career came when he was named to the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team and competed in the classic sprint, taking 29th place, as well as the 15K skate race and 4-by-10K relay in Vancouver.
Before then, between the ages of 15 and 18, Hamilton tallied nine junior national championship titles and three Colorado high school state championship titles. While at Middlebury, he was a three-time Nordic All-American for the Panther Nordic team after earning three top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships.
“Some of the best days I’ve ever had on the ski trails were spent alongside my amazing coaches and teammates at Bread Loaf,” Hamilton said. “I’m so unbelievably excited to represent our country on the biggest sporting stage in the world, and I’m so lucky to have learned so much about myself and those around me during my time at Middlebury.”
In Sochi, Hamilton will race in the individual free sprints on Feb. 11, and will probably also compete in the classic technique team sprint as well on the 19th.
Middlebury Nordic coach Andrew Johnson will be rooting Hamilton on.
“Simi’s a great guy, always willing to spend time with the up-and-comers and give a few words of encouragement,” said Johnson. “We couldn’t ask for a better ambassador for the Middlebury ski team and the sport as a whole in the U.S.”
Johnson added that Hamilton has earned his Olympic berths.
“Simi’s success is a real testament to perseverance,” he said. “He’s kept his head down and coupled patience with a ton of hard work to reach the pinnacle of the sport.”
Carey was tapped to lead a new World Cup Multi-Team of Ted Ligety and Bode Miller during the upcoming Olympic season, according to men’s alpine head coach Sasha Rearick.
Carey was a three-time All-American for the Panther alpine team. He finished in the top three on three occasions at the NCAA championships after earning junior national champion honors before arriving on campus. Carey was a member of the U.S. Ski Team from 1993 to 1997.
He returned to Middlebury in the fall of 2001 as an assistant coach with the alpine teams. After a year at Middlebury, Carey earned his first head coaching position as the head boys’ alpine ski coach at the Carrabassett Valley Academy in Maine, where Carey went to high school.
Carey returned to Middlebury to coach the alpine team from 2004 to 2006 before joining the U.S. Ski Team coaching staff. He took two years off to serve as Miller’s private coach, but other than that has worked for the U.S. program since.
Also attending the Sochi games will be former Panther alpine skier Brie Pike-Sprenger, a 2004 graduate who will be working as a physical trainer for teenage U.S. alpine skiing phenom Mikaela Shiffrin.
Editor’s note: This story was provided by the Middlebury College sports information department.
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