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Montana athletes make final push to qualify for Olympics

By Kane O'Neill, KTVM Sports, koneill@ktvm.com
Published On: Jan 14 2014 10:46:34 PM MST
Updated On: Jan 15 2014 01:54:07 PM MST

The Olympics are less than four weeks away and for three Montana athletes the next two days will determine whether or not they will qualify for the U.S. Winter Olympic team.

Bozeman's Heather McPhie and Butte brothers Bradley and Bryon Wilson will compete this Wednesday in Lake Placid and Sunday in Quebec. These are the final two Olympic qualifying freestyle events before the Olympic teams are announced.

"We only have two more chances," said Bradley. "It would have been nice to do it at the beginning, but it's kind of coming to us the realization that it's time to start getting this done."

The course and weather in Lake Placid will not make their Olympic dreams easy as it will be an uphill battle.

"Weather in Lake Placid changes dramatically throughout the day," said Bryon. "It can rain one day and have it 15 below the next. We've got to really play the environment and really adapt to whatever situation is thrown at us."

They also must adapt to a new timezone and little rest as these athletes competed in Utah just three days ago.

"We're competing pretty quickly after Deer Valley," said Bryon. "It's all jam packed but the jet lags not bad. Don't even feel it."

Even though they are about to compete for a chance to race on the world's biggest stage, they remember where it all started. It wasn't with gold, but in the Copper City.

"I'm proud to be from Montana, proud to be from Butte," said Bryon. "We had a lot of support from a lot of different people and I think that's the biggest key. The people from Montana are amazing."

"It's more of a ski bum, kind of local area," said Bradley. "I feel like if we were growing up at a big resort or something like that, we would kind of lose the respect for what skiing actually is."

The events tomorrow in Lake Placid are as follows (in Mountain time)

7:05 a.m.- Ladies Qualifications

8:55 a.m.- Men's Qualifications

11:30 a.m.- Ladies Mogul Finals (Top 16 competitors)

11:55 a.m.- Men's Mogul Finals (16)

12:25 p.m.- Ladies Mogul Finals (Top 6 remaining competitors)

12:35 p.m.- Men's Mogul Finals (6)