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Representing different countries, local skiers gain experience, confidence competing in first Olympics

Published: Tuesday, June 30 2015 4:11 p.m. MDT

United States' Jared Goldberg comes to a halt at the end of a men's downhill training run for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on Feb. 7 in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (Christophe Ena, Associated Press) United States' Jared Goldberg comes to a halt at the end of a men's downhill training run for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on Feb. 7 in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (Christophe Ena, Associated Press)

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — Salt Lake City's Jared Goldberg didn’t win a medal in his final Olympic race Wednesday.

But he won something more valuable — the knowledge that he can ski with the world’s best.

“It’s incredible,” he said of competing in his first Olympic Games as an alpine skier. “It’s something I looked forward to for a long time. It’s as much as I thought it would be.”

Goldberg’s final race in the giant slalom Wednesday was impressive — especially because this first-time Olympian hasn’t even finished his first full year on the World Cup circuit. He started in 40th place but ended up 19th after two solid runs — just ahead of U.S. ski legend Bode Miller.

United States' Jared Goldberg comes to a halt at the end of a men's downhill training run for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on Feb. 7 in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (Christophe Ena, Associated Press) United States' Jared Goldberg comes to a halt at the end of a men's downhill training run for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on Feb. 7 in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (Christophe Ena, Associated Press)

Fellow Utahn Ted Ligety cruised to a much-anticipated victory with a time of 2:45.29. Reno’s Tim Jitloff was the next American with a time of 2:47.13. Goldberg’s combined time of 2:47.48 included the sixth-best second slalom run of the event — faster than all of his teammates.

“This was a good experience for me to just come check it out,” said the Skyline alum who grew up skiing at Snowbird. “Now I know for the future that I can be very competitive.”

He said the most important thing he’s learned is how to handle the anxiety that accompanies every trip to the start gate.

“I’m learning how to deal with the pressure of high-level events,” he said. “I’ve been feeling really good and able to calm myself down. That’s something I’ve been working on for a long time. It’s coming together — and confidence also.”

His favorite moment, however, had nothing to do with racing.

“Opening ceremonies and going to the Russia-U.S. hockey game the other day,” he said, an experience he detailed on his blog, jaredgoldbergskier.com. “It was awesome.”

Park City High alum Dominic Demschar was competing in the games for Australia. The 20-year-old finished 39th with a time of 2:53.77, fulfilling his goal of finishing in the top 60 in his Olympic debut.

“I was happy with it,” he said. “It’s a long course. I was tired at the bottom. I probably could have skied a little stronger, but it was really fun.”

He said skiing against legends like Miller and Ligety was an education.

“It’s sweet,” he said. “Got to sit at the bottom and watch them go, and then you realize you’ve got to chase that. But it’s been pretty awesome.”

Like Goldberg, he said the opening ceremony was a highlight for him. Demschar, who was born in Oberdorf, Austria, to an Austrian father and Australian mother, said he’d love to come back to the games.

“It’s been really fun,” said Demschar, who will compete in slalom on Saturday.

Logan High alum Connor Lyne, who was competing for Ireland, fell on his first run. He was skiing with a shoulder injury sustained in a training accident.

He was the flag bearer for Ireland’s five-person delegation. In a press release from the Olympic Council of Ireland, he said he was looking forward to fulfilling his “lifelong ambition” to compete for Ireland in the Olympics.

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