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  Comments (1) Total Thursday Apr. 24, 2014
 
Maggie Voisin Tabbed for Winter Games
Whitefish native nominated for the U.S. Olympic Freeskiing roster
Maggie Voisin competes in the final U.S. Freeskiing Olympic qualifying events in Park City, Utah. - Photo Courtesy Shay Williams | Monster Energy
Whitefish native and 15-year-old freeski phenom Maggie Voisin will round out the U.S. Olympic Freeskiing roster after being awarded the coaches’ discretionary spot Tuesday afternoon.

Voisin joins the Sochi-bound slopestyle skiers after nearly punching her ticket to the Winter Games last weekend at a pair of Olympic qualifying events. She narrowly missed qualifying, and a question mark was left hanging as the much-talked-about coaches’ discretionary selections were finalized.

On Tuesday, that question was answered when it was confirmed that Voisin will join the best slopestyle skiers in North America to compete on the world’s biggest stage in Russia in two weeks. The formal naming of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team by the United States Olympic Committee is set for Jan. 27.

At 15, Voisin will be the youngest American Olympian to compete at the Winter Games since 1972, according to NBC Sports, and among the youngest in the world. Her roommate in Park City, 16-year-old Julia Krass, received the other coaches' pick for the women's slopestyle team.

Two other Montanans — Heather McPhie, of Bozeman and Bradley Wilson, of Butte, both mogul skiers, were also selected to the U.S. Olympic team.

Voisin flew to Aspen this week to practice for the upcoming Winter X Games after earning an invitation to the premier winter sports event. The event will air on national television Jan. 23-26.

On the website Freeskier.com, reporters said Voisin competed “with style and technicality that have made her the buzz of the competitive circuit.”

“Looking forward to Sochi, if Maggie manages to stomp a clean run, she will be among the medal contenders, without a doubt,” the post continued.

Mike Jankowski, the head coach of the U.S. Olympic freeskiing and halfpipe teams, had said he intended to take four female slopestyle skiers to Sochi. That made Voisin an obvious candidate, though the unpredictable nature of whittling down an Olympic roster was recently called to mind after coaches with the U.S. Figure Skating Team bumped a qualified competitor for another high-ranking skater.

On Tuesday, local fans, friends and family of the teenage hometown hero breathed a sigh of relief and social media sites blew up with buzz of the announcement.

Two years ago, Voisin gained national attention as a rising star on the Whitefish Mountain Resort Freestyle Team. That spring she won the women’s national title at the Freestyle Skiing Junior Nationals in Steamboat Springs, Colo. Her final score of 80 was the highest total for all women competitors and was almost 10 points higher than the 18-year-old runner-up. Among the array of high-flying spins Voisin performed in the finals, she impressed everyone with a rodeo 540 — a spin and a half with a backflip tucked in between.

Now she’s a star, regularly throwing switch left 900s, a trick hardly any other female competitors have successfully landed. She became the youngest member of the U.S. national team and ESPN named her the “Slopestyle Rookie of the Year,” highlighting her as a stylish innovator pushing the boundaries of possibility. Leading up to the Olympic qualifiers, she won the world championships in Whistler, British Columbia, the junior nationals and the USASA nationals.

RELATED: The Future of Freeskiing
 
On 01-22-14, bocephusj57 commented....
The word is spreading, the attention is growing. http://www.grindtv.com/action-sports/snow/post/skier-maggie-voisin-15-is-youngest-u-s-winter-olympian-in-decades/ Good luck, Maggie!  Make Whitefish, and Montana, proud.
 
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