BOISE -- While the 2014 Winter Olympics came to a close on Sunday, the games in Sochi are far from over. In a week and-a-half, the 2014 Paralympics begin in Sochi, and some Idaho competitors will be there.
Team USA was officially announced just a few days ago. It's a much bigger team than the Vancouver squad and features a trio of Idahoans.
Sun Valley's Jake Adicoff has been cross-country skiing in Idaho's mountains since he was in the second grade. He graduated with honors from Wood River High School but is taking a year off before starting college to compete in the Paralympics. It's a pretty incredible thing to hear to be representing my nation.
Adicoff was born blind in one eye, and only has 25% vision in the other, but still spent most of his competitive career racing against an able-bodied field. In Sochi, he'll compete in cross-country skiing and biathlon, and will be joined by another Idahoan, his guide through the course, Reid Pletcher.
Pletcher was a very successful skier himself. But, after a traumatic brain injury caused a chemical imbalance, he stopped racing -- that is, until now. I've been growing up on the team racing and he's been the younger generation, younger kid that's kind of been growing up with me.
They'll both be making their Paralympics debut, along with Amy Purdy. Purdy trains in Colorado, but is still considered an Idaho resident.
Back in 1999, Purdy contracted bacterial meningitis and lost her legs, but not her will to compete. So she re-learned to snowboard on prosthetics, which, according to Purdy, had its rocky moments. Actually, at one point, I ended up hitting this bump of snow and my goggles went one way and my gloves went the other way, and my legs, still attached to my snowboard, went flying down the mountain. And, I was still sitting at the top of the mountain. So, I realized I had a lot of challenges.
She overcame those challenges, and is now one of the finest adaptive snowboarders in the world, with her sights set on gold in Sochi. I visualize myself just riding everything as clean as possible, all of my training and hard work coming together and getting across that finish line first.
They're all trying to follow the standard set by the finest Idaho paralympian ever, Muffy Davis. Davis won three gold medals in hand cycling in 2012. Before that, she won three silvers and a bronze in skiing events in the Paralympics in Salt Lake City and Nagano.
The Sochi Paralympic Games start on March 7th and wrap up on the 16th.