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Two Northwest Athletes Chosen As Flag Bearers in Sochi

Jude Freeman
File photo of Roberto Carcelen of Seattle carrying the Peruvian flag at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Two athletes from the Northwest had the honor of carrying their nation's flag in the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics -- but neither banner was the Stars and Stripes.

Sun Valley alpine skier -- and Whitman College student -- Jasmine Campbell marched into the stadium holding the U.S. Virgin Islands flag. She was born in the Caribbean.

Cross country skier Roberto Carcelen of Seattle carried the flag of his native Peru.

Twenty more athletes with ties to Idaho, Oregon and Washington are competing for Team USA and a few of them are expected to bring home medals.

Northwest athletes brought home three silver and four bronze medals from the 2010 Vancouver Games. It'll be a challenge to match that number this year, but there is a decent chance of gold this time around.

The U.S. women's ice hockey team is the gold medal favorite and Sun Valley's Hilary Knight plays for them. Other Northwest medal contenders include short track speedskater J.R. Celski of Federal Way, Washington, Sun Valley snowboarder Kaitlyn Farrington and snowboardcross racer Nate Holland, who was raised in Sandpoint, Idaho and still lives there part time.

Action this weekend includes:

• The snowboard slopestyle final with eastern Idaho's Jessika Jenson.
• The U.S. women's hockey team plays its first game against Finland.
• Cross country skiers will be racing, including Seattle born-and-raised Holly Brooks and siblings Erik and Sadie Bjornsen of Washington's Methow Valley.

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.