Vermonters are celebrating the achievement of one of their own at the Winter Olympics — the silver medal won by Ryan Cochran-Siegle in the Super G event.
"Vermonters are very proud of what he has accomplished," Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vermont, said Tuesday of Cochran-Siegle. "And as I was watching last night, I also noticed he was wearing bib number 14, which I think has some symbolism since Vermont was the fourteenth state to join the Union."
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The silver medal came nearly 50 years to the day after Barbara Ann Cochran raced to gold in slalom in the 1972 Olympics.
"I just started yelling, 'Go Ryan, go Ryan, go Ryan!' I was so excited," Barbara Ann Cochran beamed, recalling how she watched her son’s run from home late Monday night. "It was awesome!"
Cochran-Siegle missed his own gold by just a few hundredths of a second. In a live interview with the 3rd Hour of TODAY Tuesday morning on NBC, the Olympian said reaching that podium was especially satisfying since he overcame injuries — namely to his knee and neck.
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"Never give up on yourself and give up on your dreams," Cochran-Siegle said in response to a question from Craig Melvin of NBC. "Everything is attainable."
At Cochran’s Ski Area, the nonprofit hill founded by the silver medalist’s grandparents which provides affordable access to the sport and to race training, fourth graders from nearby Richmond Elementary School were in awe of the hometown Olympian’s performance.
"We get to be on the ground that he’s probably skied," student Cora Hegg observed.
In the woods of Richmond, where Cochran-Siegle often helps his cousins running a maple operation called Slopeside Syrup, the guys said they were excited to congratulate Ryan in person.
"I can’t believe he did it," exclaimed Roger Brown, a cousin of Cochran-Siegle’s. "Fifty years after his mom — you can’t script that!"
"Going into the finish, we were like, 'Holy cow, he’s going to win!'" another cousin, Tim Kelley, said, recalling the emotions he and his wife had watching the race Monday night. "Then — four-hundredths of a second — it was so close, but it was still so exciting and definitely woke us up and it was hard to get to sleep after that!"
Barbara Ann Cochran, who said she was crying tears of joy for much of the day, views her son’s silver as demonstrating that determination, grit, and a lot of hard work really do pay off.
"He proved it," the 1972 gold medalist said of her silver medal-winning son.