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More Northwest Athletes Qualify For Sochi Olympics

Sarah Brunson
U.S. Freeskiing
Angeli VanLaanen of Bellingham was named to the U.S. Olympic Team in ski halfpipe.

It's not just the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl that will make for an exciting February for Northwest sports fans. The Winter Olympics start mere days later.

A first place performance at the final Olympic qualifying event secured a spot on Team USA for a snowboarder from Sun Valley, Idaho. Twenty-four-year-old Kaitlyn Farrington qualified at Mammoth Mountain, Calif., four years after she narrowly missed the cut for the Vancouver Olympics.

Meanwhile, in a different halfpipe final in Park City, Utah, pro skier Angeli VanLaanen of Bellingham, Wash., landed atop the podium. Her story is noteworthy because she overcame Lyme disease and a three-year hiatus for treatment to qualify for Sochi.

The very latest skier to officially learn she's Sochi-bound is slalom and giant slalom racer Jasmine Campbell. This Whitman College student -- who hails from Sun Valley -- is not with Team USA however. She'll carry the flag of the U.S. Virgin Islands, where she was born.

"I just about jumped out of my skin with excitement," wrote Campbell in an email after she got word of her selection. She will be the only athlete representing the tropical U.S. territory at the Sochi Games. Campbell's family moved to Idaho from the Caribbean when she was nine years old.

Now semi-retired, Tom Banse covered national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reported from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events unfolded. Tom's stories can be found online and were heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.