- If you can believe it, the Olympic games are almost here. Competition beginsThursday. It's also the perfect time to remind everyone that a former Olympiancalls Rhinelander home.Putting on skis is second nature for Chris Cook. The Rhinelander native startedracing when he was just 3 years old. In high school, he became focused onseeing where the journey could take him."I really wanted to do everything to pursue professional athletics," Cookexplained. "I went to Northern Michigan University and wanted to win a nationaltitle there - which I did. It put me on the U.S. developmental team, the U.S.ski team. It was step by step."
Cook continued to heat up the trails becoming the US Nationals Sprint Champ atthe age of 25. His talent and drive landed him at the 2006 Olympic Games in Torino."The opening ceremonies, walking in with the entire team was an eye-openingmoment," Cook adds. "That was a dream-realized moment."Having been to the games himself, Chris has a lot of insight into how this yearsathletes are preparing, both physically and mentally."I'm good friends with Andy Newell," Cook said. "This is his third games. He'sfocused on a medal. For the rookie, it's a little bit different. (It's) yourfirst games. It's trying not to let the media and all of the hoopla of thegames affect you."Cook retired from competition two years ago. He has mixed feelings about being aspectator this time around."I miss the racing," Cook said. "I don't miss the training, but I miss theracing. But I do enjoy watching the racing and supporting the guys who are there."
Story By: Marisa Silvas