The sweetest part? He did it almost 50 years to the day after his mom won gold in slalom at the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo.
This fall we caught up with Ryan to hear more about his come-back after his season-ending back injury last year – And now we're hearing about his Olympic Silver medal!
Read up on Ryan's recent success and why the Cochran family is so legendary in our neck of the woods »
What was your most memorable moment in Beijing outside of the competition?
We showed up a few days before we even started training runs so there was some downtime initially. Our last day off before our first training run, we took a bus over to the Sliding Venue, where they have the luge, skeleton and bobsled. When we were there, the bobsled teams were in training, and it was incredible to see the speed and forces that those athletes are up against when they’re sliding down for their sport. The cool thing about the Olympics is interacting with people that you would never see otherwise. The Alpine Venue was right there with the Sliding Venue, so we got to talk on a daily basis with all those sliding athletes and just seeing their experience and the similarities and differences between our sports was definitely a very cool experience.
Have you had any ‘celebrity moments’ since being back stateside?
Right after the Olympics, I flew to New York City to do a two-day media tour. There were showings, I was on the Today Show and on a few local NBC shows. We did a tour of the Empire State Building, which was really neat. They had the tour just for us, so we got to walk around the outside balcony and then went even higher to the lookout area. It was so amazing to see the city from above. Then I went to Stanford, Connecticut where there were other NBC sports meetings. I got to meet Lester Holt, he was really nice and that was a really special and unique experience.
How does it feel to be back on your home hill, helping out with youth skiing?
It was wild coming home and seeing the response that I did. First, there were tons of kids waiting at the airport, and then there was the celebration that happened. It was just so cool to be a part of something that’s more than just me. Cochran's Ski Area has always been a huge community that I was able to grow up in and be a part of still. I think it’s so important for those ski club kids to see what is possible and put yourself out there to do your best and follow your dreams. I think that's the reason why I was able to go to the Olympics and win a medal – because of that belief in myself. If I can pass that on to other young kids out there, it’s something I look forward to.
Upon Ryan's return to Vermont, the town of Richmond celebrated its Olympic champion with a homecoming parade, which ended at the Cochran Ski Area – Ryan's original training grounds. Ryan waved from the back of a vintage Volkswagon Beetle, while his mom, Barbara, rode shotgun. :-)
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