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Slopestyle skier Devin Logan is leading her sport as it debuts at the Winter Olympics this week. So far, snowboarders have garnered much of the attention when it comes to slopestyle. Well, Logan and her freestyle skiing teammates twist and soar, too. NPR's Sam Sanders met up with Devin Logan, who competes tomorrow.
SAM SANDERS, BYLINE: How you feeling?
DEVIN LOGAN: Oh, I'm feeling pretty good, yeah.
SANDERS: I've been following Devin Logan around Sochi for a few days now. The first time we sat down was on a chair lift during a training session in the mountains.
LOGAN: Yeah, hold tight. You're find till we try to get off. Hopefully, they'll slow it down for you.
SANDERS: On the way up, Devin said being at the Olympics was still kind of surreal.
LOGAN: It's just still so, like, out of my head, you know. I still can't believe that I'm skiing in Russia. Like, I'm on the U.S. free skiing team. Like, it's so insane to me.
SANDERS: It's not really insane that she's here. Devin Logan's been around sports since, well, she's always been around sports.
LOGAN: My mom had me and was coaching my sister's soccer games and pushing me around in the stroller on the sidelines.
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SANDERS: We spoke again walking through one of the Olympic villages. She had a little time to kill before a TV appearance. Devin talked about being the youngest of five kids growing up on Long Island, always wanting to be on the snow, just like her brothers. They both became professional skiers as well. Devin says she tried all kinds of skiing.
LOGAN: And I even did acro-skiing. It's like ballet skiing. You, like, dance to music, basically, on snow. And I did it to "Little Mermaid," "Under The Sea," when I was 6 years old.
SANDERS: In just a few years, her family knew this was getting serious, but money was tight.
LOGAN: My parents basically sat me down in seventh grade and were like, well, this costs a lot of money, like are you all in or are you gonna just, like, half-ass it. Like, we need to know, like, how committed are you.
SANDERS: Devin ended up moving to Vermont to ski and train more and it paid off. Devin has a good chance of medaling in ski slopestyle tomorrow. Okay. Quickly. What exactly is slopestyle? Well, you can do it on skis or a snowboard. It's a downhill course with big jumps and several rails or jibs. Those are things you can ride over or slide down. It's like a big skate park with snow.
Some athletes have called the slopestyle courses in Sochi dangerous, but Devin says she's not worried.
LOGAN: The course isn't all that bad. I mean, what we do is scary in general, but we know how to do it. I mean, walking across the street can be dangerous.
SANDERS: Devin Logan has all of the strength and drive of a world class athlete, all of the will to win. It just seems to be wrapped up in a big bundle of cool. Her mother, Nancy Logan, on the other hand, is, as they say, pretty stoked. She arrived in Sochi today, just in time for Devin's competition tomorrow.
NANCY LOGAN: Oh, my goodness. It's been 15 years since I've been on a plane.
SANDERS: What was that like?
LOGAN: Scary. I'm not a great flier, but we did it. We did it.
SANDERS: Right before heading off to watch Devin train, Nancy Logan talked about what it took - besides talent - to get Devin to the Olympics.
LOGAN: She went out and she raised money on her own. We had fundraisers through my store. Her sisters helped. Her father helped. Her grandparents helped.
SANDERS: Nancy owns her own business in Vermont, Wilmington Candle Company. But over the years, when that hasn't been enough, she's done more.
LOGAN: You know, I clean on the side. You know, condos, houses. It helps.
SANDERS: Nancy doesn't make a big deal about this. She does what she needs to.
LOGAN: Whatever you do, whether I'm cleaning condos or making a candle, whatever, you do it the best you can do it. You know, there's no regrets.
SANDERS: Devin will compete in a matter of hours and she'll actually turn 21 just a few days after that, during the Olympics. She plans to celebrate right in the athletes' village. She might have a beer or two, she says, maybe a little Russian vodka. Nothing too crazy. Win or lose tomorrow, she's planning on having a good time. Like her mother says, no regrets. Sam Sanders, NPR News, Sochi.
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