Road to Sochi: Team Oakley Athlete of the Week – Grete Eliassen
As many regions brace for the coming of winter, a handful of the world’s elite athletes prepare to compete on sports’ most prestigious global stage. The 2014 Winter Olympics are upon us and the remote region of Sochi, Russia is set to host the twenty-second edition of the biggest winter sporting event in the world. As the days until the Open Ceremony count down, we invite you to get to know some of the most passionate, fearless, determined and awe inspiring athletes, some of whom you will undoubtedly see on the podium come February. Each of these athletes strive to compete in Sochi as representatives of their home nations, but are bound together, despite national boundaries, as members of another exclusive team: #TeamOakley.
This week’s Team Oakley Athlete of the week is one of the most influential women on skis, Grete Eliassen. Though the six-time X Games medalist has devoted most of the past couple years to riding in the backcountry and filming, with Slopestyle on the Olympic schedule, she’s realigned her sights and is aiming to secure a spot on the US Team for Sochi. We caught up with Grete to see what’s on her mind as the Games approach.
What would it mean to you to be an Olympian, representing your country this winter in Sochi?
It would be so awesome to be an Olympian. I still can’t believe the sport of freeskiing is going to reach so many people. I have been in the ski industry for a long time and it’s just so cool to see something you love so much become mainstream. As far as representing my country, I am excited, but for me it’s more about the individual skier than which country they are from. But I will tell you about how good the snow in Utah is all day.
At what point did you set your sights on becoming an Olympian? When did you realize that goal was realistic?
When I was a little girl I was a skier racer and everyone dreams about being an Olympian. However, when I decided to stop ski racing and just follow my heart of having fun, I let that dream go. But after having fun for over 10 years now, the possibility of going to the Olympics is in front of me again. So I am going to continue to have fun and see if that takes me to the Olympics.
What is your favorite Olympic moment (personal or historic)?
My favorite part of the Olympics is all the women’s sports that are televised. It’s the Super Bowl of women’s sports for me. So anytime I turned the TV on and I saw women’s sports, those are my favorite Olympic moments.
What was your reaction when you learned that Freeski Slopestyle was being added to the Olympics? What changes did its being added to the Olympics bring to your competitive career (if any)?
Well, it meant I needed to take a break from skiing powder and filming for a couple years. I have always prided myself on being a well-rounded skier, but being a part of the first freeskiing Olympic movement doesn’t come around that often. So I literally jumped onto the opportunity and joined the US Freeskiing Team.
You have an incredible array of accolades, but what would it mean to you to add an Olympic medal to your trophy case?
It’s almost unimaginable. My mouth would be open in shock for a while.
For more on Grete Eliassen, check out her Oakley bio.