The road to Sochi | Q-and-A with Olympian Marco Sullivan

Sylas Wright
Marco Sullivan of Squaw Valley races down the Hahnenkamm Course in Kitzbuhel, Austria, in January 2013. Sullivan said the Sochi Games will be his final Olympics.
Courtesy Mitchell Gunn / ESPA |

It’s hard to believe that Marco Sullivan, the upstart speedster from Squaw Valley, is now a seasoned veteran on the U.S. Ski Team.

But it’s official. A 14-year member of the U.S. squad, Sullivan is preparing for his fourth — and final — Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, next month.

Check out what the lifelong North Shore local had to say about his ski racing and the upcoming Games.

Q: Big season for all of you on the U.S. Ski Team. How is your season going?

A: “My season has been good so far. My results are not great but I am healthy and having fun traveling on the World Cup Tour. There is nothing holding me back from popping a big result in the coming weeks.”

Q: You’re now seeking a berth to compete in your fourth Olympics. How do you enjoy your role — along with other teammates such as Bode Miller, Steven Nyman and Ted Ligety — as a veteran on the team? 

A: “I have a lot of perspective now on what it takes to be successful and it is nice to be able to pass that along.”

Q: Based on your years of experience, do you feel wiser or more prepared than you did in previous Olympic years?

A: “Without a doubt I am now wiser, but being a downhill racer I am not sure that being a wizened veteran replaces youthful exuberance in an Olympic race. My best Olympic result thus far was in 2002 when I was 21 and knew nothing except chucking my body down the mountain as fast as possible. If I can recapture that fearlessness combined with some good tactics then it will be great.”

Q: How do you think the U.S. Alpine Ski Team will fare in Sochi?

A: “The U.S. team is known for stepping it up in big events. We have admittedly not had a fast start this year but our team is strong and we will be charging for the podium in Sochi. Fourth place does not matter at the Olympics, we know that, and I think there will be some extraordinary performances.”

Q: Does the Olympic experience ever get old, or is it just as exciting as it was when you were 22?

A: “It is does not get old. Being a part of something as big as the Olympics is always really fun. Though every time is different I am always proud to represent my country and be able to showcase the skills that I have  developed over all these years.”

Q: Will this be your final Olympics? Or will you pursue the 2018 Games? 

A: “This will for sure be my final Olympics.”

Q: What are your plans after ski racing? 

A: “I love skiing and look forward to enjoying the sport in a non-racing capacity. I am also pursuing a business management degree and hope to put that to use.”

Q: Remember when it used to snow in Tahoe?

A: “Like everyone else I hope that the snow comes back to Tahoe! I have such great memories of growing up skiing at Squaw. The heavy Sierra snow makes you strong and fearless and I love it.”

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