Press-Republican

Local News

March 27, 2014

Saranac Lake welcomes Olympians home

Olympic athletes share stories after downtown parade

SARANAC LAKE — Kids ask the darndest questions. 

At Saranac Lake Central School on Wednesday, an Olympic afternoon began for six Olympians in an auditorium filled to capacity with high-school teens.

“To think from a small town you can get this far,” Amber Drosdowich, a senior, said from her seat in the audience as the athletes who competed in Sochi settled in chairs on stage.

“It’s inspiring to our town,” senior Nerma Cecunjanin said.

The two friends leaned forward as questions were posed by two members of their class to the Olympians at the pre-parade gathering.

Four of them are graduates of Saranac Lake High School: Bill Demong, 1998; Tim Burke, 2000; Annelies Cook, 2002; and Peter Frenette, 2010.

One is a Lake Placid High School alum: Lowell Bailey, 1999.

And the sixth athlete, bronze-medal winner Jamie Greubel, makes her home now in Lake Placid.

LUCKY EARRINGS

Enter seniors Austin Eckert and Kevin Duguay, masters of ceremonies. Eckert rolled the first toward Cook, noting her Instagram announced how she always wears earrings.

“Do you compete with earrings on?” he asked.

“I do,” she laughed, setting the tone for a light-hearted assembly that felt a lot like conversation.

“Sometimes, I’m, like, I need a lucky pair today,” Cook said.

Duguay asked Peter Frenette if the athletes really tore down a barrier between the U.S. and Canadian ski jumping team dressing rooms in Sochi.

“It was not very well made,” Frenette responded with apparent diplomacy.

“One day, it almost fell down — almost falling on one kid’s head.”

So they took down the wall, Frenette explained.

FAVORITE MEMORIES

The emcees asked Demong how he separates his ski jumping focus from cross-country skiing endurance in Nordic combined.

“I really get my kicks off ski jumping,” he told them. “It’s like you’re trying to chuck your aaa … butt over your head,” he explained, drawing great laughter.

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