Friday, January 24, 2014

Campbell, Gaspar are Olympians from Virgin Islands

Verge to coach U.S. freeskiing team

    The Virgin Islands Olympic Committee announced this week that two skiers with Sun Valley ties, Jasmine Campbell and Veronica Gaspar, have been nominated to represent the U.S. Virgin Islands at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia in February.
    On Monday the Interna-tional Ski Federation (FIS) offi-cially confirmed that Campbell, 22, formerly from St. John, Vir-gin Islands, met all qualifica-tion requirements to partici-pate in two alpine skiing events, giant slalom and sla-lom, at the 2014 Winter Olym-pics.
    She is the daughter of John Campbell, who represented the Virgin Islands in alpine skiing at the 1992 Winter Games in France. Jasmine along with parents John and Jen, and brothers Ryon and Ross, moved to Sun Valley when she was nine.
    Jasmine Campbell came through the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation program and is currently training with the SVSEF in preparation for the Olympics.
    Gaspar, 18, also from St. John, graduated from the Community School and Sun Valley Ski Academy in June 2013. Having been accepted to attend college at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Gas-par elected to take a year off and compile the necessary five FIS qualifying finishes to make the Olympics.
    Campbell, who has com-pleted her junior year at Whit-man College in Washington, and Gaspar are the U.S. Virgin Islands’ first Olympic qualifi-ers in women’s alpine skiing since 1988, according to Virgin Islands Olympic Committee.
    Helped by grants from the International Olympic Com-mittee, Campbell and Gaspar since last summer have pro-ceeded through a series of FIS alpine ski races in South Amer-ica and the Far East in order to gain the needed FIS points. Campbell trained and raced with the Argentinean ski team.
    In FIS racing in China in December, Campbell became the first skier from the Virgin Islands to reach the podium in an international ski race, fin-ishing second and third in gi-ant slalom Dec. 11-12 at Bei-dahu Ski Resort. She also put up a pair of fourth places in slalom at Beidahu Dec. 13-14.

Verge named to head Olym-pic free skiing team
    The SVSEF has announced on its Web site that former SVSEF alpine racer and U.S. freeskiing coach Ben Verge, 33, will be at the helm at the first-ever U.S. Freeskiing Olympic Team at Sochi next month.
    The inaugural squad fea-tures 11 halfpipe and slopestyle athletes announced Saturday at the end of the U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix at Park City, Utah. Verge’s athletes include Mad-die Bowman, Brita Sigourney, David Wise and Lyman Cur-rier, whose father, David, is a longtime employee of Smith Optics.
    All have spent time training in Sun Valley and Sigourney, 24, skied with the SVSEF dur-ing the 2011-12 season with Verge as her coach. Verge was named Freeskiing Coach of the Year by the U.S. Ski and Snow-boarding Association in 2012.

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