Olympian Nick Baumgartner speaks to the students at West Iron County on Jan. 30 about his previous experience at the Olympics, his sport and what he hopes to accomplish at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
IRON RIVER—Olympian Nick Baumgartner left Iron County on Feb. 4 to prepare for his second Winter Olympics.
His first stop was in Munich. From there, his destination was Sochi, Russia, where he will compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
In an interview before leaving Iron River, Nick said his preparations for the Olympics have not been much different than his normal activity.
“The last three weeks have been stressful,” he said, “but before that it was just training.
“I try not to let it be any different. I think it’s important not to look at the Olympics as something so much bigger, because it can really stress you out.”
He will be competing in snowboard cross. Qualifying competitions are on Feb. 16, and the final is on Feb. 17.
Nick said his first thoughts when he learned he had been selected to Team USA were to call home.
“The first thought I had was that I have to tell [son] Landon and my parents,” he said. “My dad didn’t sleep for days beforehand.”
When he called and told Landon, Nick said he didn’t go crazy at first. But when the class called him back, everyone was screaming in the background.
Nick said he feels more prepared this time around because he has experienced the Olympics before, at the Vancouver Winter Games in 2010.
“It will absolutely be different,” Nick said. “Last time, I didn’t know what to expect. I have the experience and I know what to do to make sure I’m in the right state of mind to go there to win.”
Nick will be in Sochi until Feb. 19. He said that he enjoys seeing other countries and looks forward to sharing the experience with Landon. He said the only thing he is nervous about is the safety, but he knows that the U.S. will take good care of its athletes.
“It’s cool to see how the rest of the world works,” he said. “It really changes you and shows you that we have it really good here. There are people who say that there isn’t a lot of opportunity here, but there are a lot of places who have it worse.
“I live here because of how awesome it is up here. I think we lose sight of it. We are definitely blessed to live in such a beautiful and safe place.”