The huge North Country story lines at the end of Week 1 in Sochi look something like this. We have two medals so far, a silver and a bronze!
1. Andrew Weibrecht from Lake Placid knows when to go. Early this morning on the Super G course, he nailed a near-perfect run, adding silver to his 2010 bronze Olympic medal. Four years after his bronze medal win in Vancouver, he rediscovered that magic.
2. Erin Hamlin is a star. The Remsen luge racer, who lives much of the year now in Lake Placid, scored a bronze medal in women’s single races. In a year when the US is suffering a medals drought, Hamlin’s break-out win is (deservedly) grabbing a lot of media attention. She’s the big North Country story from Sochi so far.
3. Lowell Bailey gets the come-back award for these games.
Two devastatingly tough races, a long day of painful soul-searching, and the Lake Placid biathlon veteran springs back and notches the best-ever finish for an American — 8th place — in the Olympics. That’s mental toughness. He has two more big races ahead and a lot of momentum.
4. Bill Demong from Vermontville enters week 2 with his powder dry. The Nordic combined gold medalist didn’t contend in his first race, but he sounded incredibly calm and confident that he was positioned well for races still to come. If he can grab a decent jump, and position himself solidly for the x-country race, there’s a real chance for more metal here.
There are a lot of other players from the North Country — Tim Burke, Annelies Cook, Jusin Olsen — who could grab headlines next week as competition continues. But so far, those are the takeaways from Sochi.
There’s a lot more on our Sochi page at ncpr.org or catch up with the latest on our twitter feed #ncprolympics.