The Games of the XXII Winter Olympiad in Sochi, Russia, have come to a close, and once again, the University of Denver was well-represented.
Performing to the greatest level of achievement for the Pioneers was Kevin Dineen, head coach of the Canadian women’s hockey team. Dineen (attd. 1981–83), a former hockey captain at DU, guided the Canadian team to the gold medal in a 3-2, come-from-behind, overtime victory over the rival United States.
Also within Sochi’s Bolshoy Ice Dome, former Pioneer Paul Stastny (attd. 2004–06), currently a member of the Colorado Avalanche, helped lead the U.S. men’s hockey team into the tournament semifinals. The 28-year-old, a member of DU’s last national championship team in 2005 as well as the 2010 U.S. Olympic squad that took silver at the Vancouver Games, chipped in two goals in the opening 7–1 win over Slovakia before consecutive losses to eventual gold medalist Canada and bronze medalist Finland.
The University’s four Olympic skiers were paced by Keri Herman (BSBA ’05), who competed in the Olympic debut of freeski slopestyle. Herman, 31, a two-time Winter X Games silver medalist in the event, qualified 11th of 12 for the medal round with a score of 72.40, but was unable to top or even match the total in the final, registering a second run of 50.00 to land in 10th place.
In the more traditional skiing events, men’s alpine challenger Leif Kristian Haugen (BSBA ’12) represented Norway at the Winter Games for the second time, once again contending in the giant slalom and slalom. In Sochi, he recorded two career bests at the Olympics, finishing 16th in giant slalom.
Two current Pioneer alpine team members, Trevor Philp of Canada and Sebastian Brigovic of Croatia, had strong showings as well. Like Haugen, Philp competed in the giant slalom and slalom events, winding up in 25th place at the conclusion of the giant slalom. As for slalom, entering in 29th after his first run, Philp could not complete the difficult course when conditions worsened, joining a third of the event’s field also unable to do so. Meanwhile, Brigovic’s time placed him 38th in the giant slalom after his first run and 35th following his second.
The extinguishing of the flame at the Winter Olympics acts as a signal for what’s next — the 2014 Paralympic Games, which run March 7–16, also in Sochi. Alpine skier Allison Jones (BSME ’07), who was born without a right femur, helps lead a group of 80 American athletes, the largest delegation of any team participating.
Jones is a seven-time medalist and seven-time Paralympian, having been a member of each U.S. team since 2002 (she competes in cycling at the summer event). Joining her in Sochi will be current sophomore Jamie Stanton, an alpine skier and right leg amputee at 6 months old. Stanton, the current recipient of the University’s Willy Schaeffler Scholarship, will compete in the giant slalom and slalom events.