Simeon “Simi” Hamilton ’09 will represent Middlebury College at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games taking place in Sochi, Russia. The former Panther Nordic racer, a geology major, will be taking part in his second Olympic games, after representing the U.S. in the 2010 games in Vancouver. Also representing the school will be Forest Carey ’00, serving as a U.S. Ski Team coach, while Matt Whitcomb '01 coaches the U.S. women's Nordic squad.
Hamilton made history just over a month ago with an incredible performance on New Year’s Eve. He won stage three of the 2013–14 FIS Tour de Ski, a 1.5 kilometer freestyle sprint. In doing so, he became the first American male to win a World Cup race since Bill Koch won the Sarajevo 30k in February of 1983.
“As I gear up for my second Winter Olympics, I’m reminded on a daily basis of the values I learned as a Middlebury student; the power of hard work, commitment and passion for doing something that you love,” said Hamilton.
Between the ages of 15–18, Hamilton tallied nine junior national championship titles and three Colorado high school state championship titles. While at Middlebury, he was a three-time All-American for the Panther Nordic team. He achieved the recognition with three top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships.
“Simi’s a great guy — always willing to spend time with the up-and-comers and give a few words of encouragement,” said Middlebury Nordic coach Andrew Johnson. “We couldn’t ask for a better ambassador for the Middlebury Ski Team and the sport as a whole in the U.S.”
The highlight of his young career came when he was named to the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team and competed in the classic sprint (29th place) as well as the 15 km skate race and 4×10 km relay in Vancouver, Canada.
Hamilton will race in the individual free sprints on February 11 and is likely to compete in the classic technique team sprint as well on the 19th.
“Some of the best days I’ve ever had on the ski trails were spent alongside my amazing coaches and teammates at Bread Loaf. I’m so unbelievably excited to represent our country on the biggest sporting stage in the world, and I’m so lucky to have learned so much about myself and those around me during my time at Middlebury,” said Hamilton.
Johnson added, “Simi’s success is a real testament to perseverance. It hasn’t always been an easy road for him, but he’s kept his head down and coupled patience with a ton of hard work to reach the pinnacle of the sport.”
Carey was tapped to lead a new World Cup Multi-Team of Ted Ligety and Bode Miller during the upcoming Olympic season, according to men’s alpine head coach Sasha Rearick.
Carey graduated from Middlebury in 2000, and was a three-time All-American for the Panther alpine team. He finished in the top three on three occasions at the NCAA Championships, while also earning junior national champion honors before arriving on campus. Carey was a member of the U.S. Ski team from 1993–97.
He returned to Middlebury in the fall of 2001 as an assistant coach with the alpine teams. After a year at Middlebury, Carey earned his first head coaching position as the head boys’ alpine ski coach at the Carrabassett Valley Academy in Maine, where Carey went to high school.
Carey returned to Middlebury to coach the alpine team in ’04, ’05 and ’06 before later joining the U.S. Ski Team coaching staff. Aside from two years as a private coach with Miller, Carey has been with the U.S. staff ever since.
Also serving as a coach in Sochi will be Matt Whitcomb ’01, who will serve as the coach of the U.S. women’s Nordic team. He was hired by the U.S. Ski Team as a development-level coach in 2006. Two years ago, Whitcomb was elevated to head coach of the U.S. women's team.
After graduating from Middlebury in 2001 with a degree in geology, Whitcomb coached a year with Glacier Nordic in Whitefish, Mont., before becoming the Nordic head coach at Burke Mountain Academy in Vermont for four years.
“I was at Middlebury for 31 years and he was one of the best captains I ever had,” former Middlebury coach Terry Aldrich said. “He did all the special, little things that was helpful to a coaching staff. It was almost like having another assistant coach on the team.”
In two years, Whitcomb has the American women on the verge of making history. Two of his racers, Kikkan Randall and Jessica Diggins, won a gold medal in the World Cup team sprint at Val di Flemme, Italy, on Jan. 24.
Also working the games will be former alpine skier Brie Pike-Sprenger ’04. She will serve as a physical trainer for U.S. alpine phenom, Mikaela Shiffrin.
Former All-American Bob Poehling '11 will also be in Sochi, working as the strength and conditioning coach for the men's alpine technical team.
Chad Samela '00 is also a part of the Sochi Games, serving as a biathlon and cross country skiing analyst for NBC Sports.
Near Misses - A handful of other former Middlebury athletes nearly took part in the 2014 games, but were either unable to qualify or forced out due to injury.
- Yina Moe-Lange ’15 — Alpine Skiing — current Panther who represented Denmark in the Vancouver games in 2010… finished 47th in women’s giant slalom and 52nd in the slalom.
- Hedda Berntsen ’99 — Ski Cross — earned a silver medal in the women’s ski cross freestyle skiing event for Norway at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C.
- David Donaldson ’13 — Alpine Skiing — earned a spot on the FIS World Cup after a stellar senior season at Middlebury in ’13 where he won five out of the six giant slalom races... Canadian racer was also a four-time All-American.
- Joe Swensson ’08 — Ski Cross — One of the country’s top-ranked ski cross racers who was a member of the alpine team at Middlebury.
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