Summit High School ski mountaineer Grace Staberg places 7th after penalty at Youth Olympics
Jeremiah Vaille finishes 17th in boys individual race
Sometimes heartbreak is the name of the game, and that was the case for Summit High School senior Grace Staberg at Friday’s 2020 Youth Winter Olympics individual ski mountaineering race in Switzerland.
At Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland, Staberg was the third-fastest of 22 female youth ski mountaineers in the individual race, completing the course in 1 hour and 21.24 seconds to put herself in bronze medal position. That time was behind gold medal winner Caroline Ulrich (58:34:48) and silver medalist Thibe Deseyn (59:38:58), both of Switzerland.
But race officials gave Staberg a three-minute penalty due to a racing skin sticking out of her racing suit. That technicality put Staberg’s official time at 01:03:21.24, which placed her seventh overall, still the top American racer.
“I know that this race is so much bigger than today’s results because it is a huge step for our sport,” Staberg wrote on her Instagram page. “But for now, I’m feeling a bit beat up and battered. When you let yourself get emotionally invested in something, you open yourself up to growth, but you also sign up for a bit of heartbreak along the way.”
In the boys race, Summit High senior Jeremiah Vaille finished in 17th place of 23 racers with a time of 56:58:99, a little over nine minutes off the pace of gold medalist Thomas Bussard of Switzerland (47:49.85).
Staberg and Vaille will return to action for Monday’s men’s and women’s sprint competitions and Tuesday’s mixed relay.
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