Sammamish downhill skier races in Whistler

March 2, 2010

By Chantelle Lusebrink

Yina Moe-Lange looks toward 2014 Olympics

WHISTLER, British Columbia

Sammamish skier Yina Moe-Lange rests after completing the second race in the ladies’ giant slalom at the Whistler Creekside venue. By Andrea Collins

The cold rush of snow, blazing fast speeds and butterflies marked 16-year-old Yina Moe-Lange’s Olympic debut.

Moe-Lange, a Sammamish resident skiing for Denmark, put the pedal to the metal the second day of competition, shaving her time dramatically to place 47th out of 60 competitors in the second run of the ladies’ giant slalom Feb. 25.

“I was super nervous yesterday,” she said of the first race, held Feb. 24. “Everything was so different. There were more people there that wouldn’t normally be there at a race. The thought of knowing that was tough.

“I got the first start out of the way and skied today more like I’ve skied every other race in every other course.”

By the second day of competition, the butterflies floated away and what was left, for one of the youngest competitors in the games, was sheer athletic ability.

“She really went for it and she didn’t hold back,” said her father, Danny Lange. “She really pulled it together and went faster.”

In her final race, the ladies’ slalom, Moe-Lange placed 51st out of 70 competitors, including downhill veterans, like Julia Mancuso, of the U.S., and German Maria Riesch, the gold medalist in the race.

Her family — who hadn’t planned to attend the Vancouver games — has been her major source of support, she said.

“It helps coming down to someone that you know, knows what you’re going through and it’s awesome having all five of them here,” she said.

Her parents and brothers, ages 19, 8 and 11, joined her after scoring last-minute tickets and accommodations.

“It’s been a lot of years of carrying skis,” Lange said. “We’re all very happy and there is a huge element of pride.”

Moe-Lange moved into the Danish athlete house at Olympic Village Whistler days before the opening ceremony in Vancouver.

“I’m the only girl staying here in Whistler. The others are staying in Vancouver,” Moe-Lange said. “I’m in a house with a lot of old men, but we get along really well. I’ve gotten to learn about the other people’s sport and how they are the same or different from what I do. It’s been really fun.”

With her nervousness squelched in Whistler, Moe-Lange will continue to ski — and perhaps blaze a path to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Lange said local support helped fuel the pride his daughter and family felt about her Olympics debut.

“It’s been such a positive experience and I have to say, in the U.S., we were so surprised by the ‘she is one of our own,’ mentality,” he continued. “We thought it would be more like, ‘She’s from Denmark. Who cares?’ But we had extreme local interest. For me, it’s a great response, all these many years of hard work, that she’s being welcomed.”

Ladies’ Giant Slalom

-Gold: Viktoria Rebensburg, Germany: 2:27.11

-Silver: Tina Maze, Slovenia: 2:27.15

-Bronze: Elisabeth Goergl, Austria: 2:27.25

-Yina Moe-Lange, Denmark: 47th place with a time of 2:43.67

Ladies’ Slalom

-Gold: Maria Riesch, Germany: 1:42.89

-Sliver: Marlies Schild, Austria: 1:43.32

-Bronze: Sarka Zahrobska, Czech Republic: 1:43.90

-Yina Moe-Lange, Denmark: 51st place with a time of 2:04.70

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