Northwest-Raised And Trained, But Competing Under Foreign Flags At Olympics
If you've been watching the Winter Olympics, you may have noticed athletes native to one country competing for a different country's team. In fact, there are four Northwest-raised and trained Olympians who are competing under foreign flags.
Vic Wild was born and raised in White Salmon, Washington, and honed his snowboard racing skills at Mount Hood Meadows. But if he wins a medal this weekend in PyeongChang in men's parallel giant slalom, it'll be for Russia.
In a nutshell, Wild, 31, became unhappy with lack of support from Team USA for his snowboard specialty. Around that time in 2011 he married a Russian snowboarder and thereafter applied for Russian citizenship.
Three other athletes with Northwest roots found a path to PyeongChang through foreign teams. Kent Callister, 22, of Bend, Oregon, finished 10th in snowboard halfpipe. He competed for Australia by virtue of his dad being Australian.
Alpine skier Jeffrey Webb, 19, of Chelan, Washington, is racing in the slalom this week for Malaysia. His mother is Malaysian.
Webb is the first alpine skier to ever represent Malaysia at the Winter Games. It does not snow in the Southeast Asian nation. Webb learned ski racing at Mission Ridge ski area near Wenatchee. He is coached in PyeongChang by the director of the Mission Ridge Ski Team.
Webb placed 68th out of 75 finishers in the giant slalom on Sunday, which was won by Austrian legend Marcel Hirscher. The men's slalom will be broadcast live in the U.S. on Wednesday night.
Filipino-American skier Asa Miller finished two spots behind Webb in 70th place in the giant slalom. Miller, 17, was born in Portland, is now a senior at Lincoln High School and trains at Mount Hood. He has dual citizenship in the U.S. and the Philippines because his mother is Filipino. Miller, one of two Filipino athletes at the Games, carried the Philippine flag during the Opening Ceremony.