Idaho athletes prepare for return to Olympics



Posted on February 28, 2011 at 2:01 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 25 at 10:36 AM

It was one year ago when the curtain fell on the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.  In the next 18 months, the curtain will rise on the London games.

Idaho athletes are playing a major role in the bi-yearly event that brings the world together.  It's a trend that is not likely to change any time soon.

Idaho's golden girl Kristin Armstrong became a household name around the state with her Olympic championship in China in 2008.  She retired shortly after, but last year, following the birth of her first baby, Lucas, she would soon be back on the bike training for a comeback...

"As my husband keeps imagining and visualizing me and my baby on the podium and if my 2-year-old is on the podium with me it will make everything worth it," said Armstrong.

And, so its "on" for this mom, who proudly displays her gold medal bike at their new north Boise home.  And who came out of retirement to make a run at a third Olympic games.

London is also in the sights for Boise's Nick Symmonds.  The former Bishop Kelly speedster is the reigning three-time National Champion in the 800 meters.  He has been ranked number one in the U.S. since the 2008 Olympic Trials in Eugene where he lives and trains.

This month Symmonds has been training in the summer heat of Australia and told KTVB via Skype that a bit of inspiration from Kristin after his first Olympic experience in Beijing will help him later.

"Beijing was incredible... ...amazing experience when I came back to Boise," said Nick Symmonds via Skype.  "I met Kristin Armstrong.  She said she felt the same way the first time she went to the Olympics and when she came back for a second time she felt so much more prepared and subsequently won a gold medal so, I don't know if I'm on the exact same path but if I make the team in 2012 I will be a lot more prepared this time."

As Kristin and Nick lock in their training regimen for this year and next, Sun Valley's Hillary Knight is already looking to 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

After winning the silver medal with her team in Vancouver, Hillary finds herself as the leading scorer on the nation's top ranked Wisconsin Badger hockey team, steamrolling toward a national championship.

No matter what the success Idaho Olympians have had in the past and will have in the future, there is one constant all agree on -- the support they feel from an Olympic crazed state that loves its athletes.

"I take pride in being from Sun Valley and being from Idaho and I'm really fortunate my family found a place and the community has embraced me as much as they have," said Hillary.

"From my Bishop Kelly family to everybody else in Boise who follows my career, it means the world to me to know that you guys are still supporting me," said Nick Symmonds.

"I don't think there is a place in the country that is as proud of their athletes as this place," said Kristin Armstrong.

If you are wondering about whether silver medalist and fan favorite Speedy Petersen is thinking about trying for a fourth Olympics, he told Mark Johnson that right now, he is not.

Speedy is taking college finance courses in Salt Lake City and is looking to start a business career, but with Speedy, when it comes to the Olympics -- Never say never.