DU Skier Finishes 28th At Olympic Games

(above) DU skier Leif Kristian Haugan competed in the Vancouver Olympics last week

From: DU Today
by Nathan Solheim

DU alpine skier Leif Kristian Haugen competed for the Norwegian ski team in the 2010 Winter Olympics and finished 28th in the giant slalom. His next trip to the slopes will be for the NCAA championships.

“Of course, right after the giant slalom, I was disappointed; I hoped to do better,” Haugen says. “Overall, I did some sections of the course really well. Making it to the Olympics is a great experience for me. I definitely feel like I learned something. Maybe when we get to Sochi, [site of the 2014 games in the Black Sea resort area of Russia] I’ll be better prepared and fight for the medals.”

Haugen did not finish his first run in the slalom event after straddling a gate, which effectively ended his Olympic competition.

“It happens, it’s a part of the sport,” Haugen says. “It sucks when it happens — it maybe happens once or twice a season.”

Haugen says some of the highlights of his Olympic experience were living in the athletes’ village for a few days before the skiing events began, dining with Norway’s King Harald V and Queen Sonja and sharing a house with fellow Norwegian ski team members.

“I stayed in a house with Aksel Lund Svindal — he won a gold, a silver and a bronze — and Kjetil Jansrud. He won a silver,” Haugen says. “So at least I got to hold a medal.”

Haugen’s experience also crystallized his desire to someday win a medal for Norway.

“I’m fired up right now, I’m looking forward to finding out how I can get a lot better,” Haugen says. “The planning is already there.”

Haugen is expected to return to campus and compete for DU in the NCAA championships March 10–13 in Steamboat Springs, Colo.

Alumnus Tom Zakrajsek (BA English and mass communications ’88) coached U.S. women’s champion Rachael Flatt to a 7th place finish in ladies figure skating.

Zakrajsek is based out of the Broadmoor Skating Club in Colorado Springs (read entire article).

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