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Skier Lyman Currier follows in father’s Olympic footsteps

Lyman Currier is hoping to translate qualifying success into Sochi gold; photo courtesy of USSA
Lyman Currier is hoping to translate qualifying success into Sochi gold. Photo courtesy USSA

The Olympics were always kind of a big deal for halfpipe skier Lyman Currier. While his discipline wasn't included in the Games until this year, his father, David Currier, was an alpine racer and member of the 1972 U.S. Olympic Team that competed in Sapporo, Japan—an honor Lyman often heard about growing up. Now the younger Currier will follow in his father's footsteps, having earned an Olympic berth at the age of 19—nearly the same age that his dad made an Olympic debut of his own 42 years ago. (David was 20.)

We caught up with the younger Currier to ask him about carrying on his family's Olympic tradition and what he was looking forward to most about his Olympic debut.

[RELATED: Yahoo Sports makes Olympic men’s halfpipe podium predictions]

How does if feel to make the Olympic squad on an unbelievable last-second push?
Making the Olympic team for the United States is extremely hard. Making it in the last two qualifiers felt amazing and gave me a lot of confidence going into Sochi. I knew I could compete on the highest level with these athletes after getting on the podium at Breckenridge Dew Tour in December, but getting on the podium at the last two events really solidified that thought in my mind.

Obviously you’re riding an adrenaline high right now. How do you keep that going into Olympic competition?
The adrenaline always helps competition in my mind, and honestly in a sport where you’re combining speed, huge heights, and massively dangerous tricks, it’s hard not to be riding an adrenaline high during every second of it. With all of the media attention and spectator attention at the Olympics, I’m sure that adrenaline high will only be heightened.

Your dad has quite an Olympic history himself. How does he feel about your nomination?
My dad was ecstatic, as any father would be, but I think it was on a completely different level due to the fact [that] I made it and am walking directly in his footsteps. I can’t even explain how proud he is, but everybody can see it; he hasn’t stopped smiling from ear to ear since the nomination.

David Currier made the Olympic Team in 1972. 42 years later, his son became the second Currier to pull the trick; photo courtesy of Kate Gaeir
David Currier made theU.S. Olympic Team in 1972. Forty-two years later, his son became the second Currier to pull the trick. Photo courtesy Kate Gaeir

Did you hear stories about the Olympics growing up? Remember anything specific?
I heard a few stories about that Olympics—mostly stuff about the beautiful place it was in: Sapporo, Japan. Unfortunately I don’t remember too much about his personal stories, but he’s told me it was an experience unlike any other and every second should be soaked up and enjoyed.

What does it mean to you to carry on the Currier’s Olympic tradition?
It means so much to carry on my father's legacy and join such a prestigious group of amazing athletes. "Once an Olympian, always an Olympian"; it’s a dream come true to join my father in having such a title.

How do you think your experience will differ from your dad’s?
Just like anything, the Olympics have changed drastically over the last 40 years, so I think my experience will differ greatly with the media coverage and spectator outpouring. I'm also competing in a very different sport than him.

Outside of actually competing, what are you most excited for at Sochi?
Outside of competing at Sochi, I’m so excited to stay in the Olympic Village and meet a bunch of different athletes from all parts of the world as well as going to as many events as I can and cheering on all my fellow Americans!

Men's ski halfpipe debuts at the Sochi Olympics Tuesday, Feb. 18, at 5:45 p.m. local time. Acomplete viewers' guide is available through NBCOlympics.com.

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