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Bozeman man follows Olympic dream to Sochi

By Lauren Maschmedt, KTVM Anchor, lmaschmedt@ktvm.com
Published On: Jan 17 2014 10:00:12 AM MST
Updated On: Jan 17 2014 10:22:42 PM MST
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Paul Bussi loves to take photographs, especially when it comes to downhill ski racing.

"What I like to show is that dynamic and that on-the-edge, sort of over-the-top, out-of-hand aspect of ski racing," Bussi said.

Lately, the Bozeman photographer has been gearing up for a special photo assignment.

"I'm going with USA Today Sports to the Olympics. It's sort of my dream come true," he proudly explained.

A dream like this doesn't happen overnight.

Bussi began photographing alpine ski races in 2008 -- first shooting at the World Cup in Lake Louise, Canada, and then for the U.S. Ski Team.

Two years later, "I said my goal is to have someone pay for me to go to Sochi in 2014 to photograph alpine ski racing," he said.

So for the next four years, that's what Bussi focused on.

He's a former ski racer himself and ski instructor for 20 years.

"The skill of photography is important to getting a good shot, but knowing the sport is really invaluable," Bussi said.

He explained he combined his knowledge of the turns and techniques with hours and hours of shooting.

"I shot so many junior ski races, I shot probably hundreds of local junior ski races just to practice shooting ski racing," Bussi said with a laugh.

That mix of knowledge, and an eye for shots that convey action, skill and excitement earned him a spot with U.S. Presswire, a company later bought by USA Today.

"What I'm trying to do is to create a piece of art," Bussi said, describing his mission.

Last season, his art put some of the biggest names in skiing -- like Bode Miller -- in Bussi's viewfinder at races in Beaver Creek and Aspen, Colorado.

Then, they signed him on for Sochi.

"I was really excited about that," said Bussi.

Now, he can't wait to be on the Olympic ski hills, clicking away as athletes go for gold, and chasing an Olympic dream of his own.

We asked Bussi how he'll gear up for Sochi. He said he's packing lightly -- taking two cameras, a long, medium and short lens and a few other pieces of gear to get different types of shots.

Once on the hill, he'll be connected to the internet as he shoots so USA Today Sports can have access to the photos as he takes them.

Bussi said his photos could be used by agencies like ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and NBC.

He leaves for the Olympics on February 2, and he'll be in Sochi until February 25.