17 furious days to the Olympic team: Part 5, Vic Wild, Ester Ledecka lead a pack for Steamboat-trained athletes riding for other nations | SteamboatToday.com

17 furious days to the Olympic team: Part 5, Vic Wild, Ester Ledecka lead a pack for Steamboat-trained athletes riding for other nations

Vic Wild flies around a gate on what turned out to be his gold-medal run in the men's parallel giant slalom at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia, site of the 2014 Winter Olympics mountain events. Wild was born in the United States and trained in Steamboat Springs but received Russian citizenship in 2012 after American funding for his sport dried up.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat's not only a magnet for United States athletes to train, but for international athletes, as well. Six skiers and snowboarders who've trained in Steamboat Springs in the past will potentially represent other nations in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Vic Wild

Sport: Alpine snowboarding

Ties to Steamboat: Wild grew up in Washington in the United States, then trained for several years in Steamboat Springs. With no options for funding in the United States, he opted to become a Russian citizen and, competing for his new nation, he won two gold medals at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Position: Wild hasn't maintained the "win-every-event" pace he was on at the 2014 Olympics, but he's remained one of the top riders on the World Cup circuit, placing in the top-10 in the World Cup standings in two of the three full seasons since that Olympics. Wild is the second-ranked Russian racer at this point, but given his success in 2014 and his continued success since, he'd be a sure bet to make the Russian team.

What needs to go right: "The Russian Team" is the problem for Wild. There will be no Russian team at the 2018 Winter Olympics after the nation was banned for doping violations relating to the 2014 Olympics. Wild will likely still be able to compete, however, as he was never implicated in any of the allegations, though he'll need to do so under the Olympic banner rather than the Russian flag. He indicated in an interview earlier this season he had reservations about doing so, but that he likely would take that opportunity.

Chances: All-but a lock: 95 percent. Given the tricky situation with Russian athletes, it's probably not safe to give him 100 percent.

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Chances at the Olympics: Wild's been a consistent presence in the top-10 since 2014 but has only made the podium three times and won on the World Cup once. But, his situation in terms of results isn't dramatically different than it was heading into that Olympics, so it certainly wouldn't be a surprise to see him on the podium again. It's worth noting while there were two Alpine snowboarding events in 2014, there's only one this cycle.

Ester Ledecka

Sport: Alpine skiing and Alpine snowboarding

Ties to Steamboat: The multi-talented Czech Republic athlete has trained with the Winter Sports Club and Alpine snowboarding coach Thedo Remmelink.

Position: She's in a very unique position, actually, as she's set to compete in two different disciplines. This isn't the difference between the two-man bobsled and the four-man, though. It's more like the difference between the two-man bobsled and speed skating. Both of those involve ice and that's about it. Ledecka is probably the gold medal favorite in parallel giant slalom on her snowboard. In skiing, she'll likely focus on the super-G and giant slalom.

What needs to go right: She needs stay rested? She'll be in South Korea and almost certainly in both disciplines.

Chances: Lock. 100 percent.

Chances at the Olympics: At last season's World Championships she won gold in parallel giant slalom, then logged top-30 finishes in downhill, super-G and combined. Roughly similar results can be expected in South Korea. Of the 10 Alpine snowboard World Cup events this year, she's won six and been second twice. Yeah, she’s pretty good.

Jarryd Hughes

Sport: Snowboard cross

Ties to Steamboat: The Australian native trained in Steamboat Springs for several years.

Position: Hughes has been a little all over the map this season in terms of results, but those results include a win on the World Cup and another top-10 finish, so he's in good shape to make it to South Korea.

What needs to go right: He was 33rd in his most recent event, first in the one before that and 25th before that. Surely he'd appreciate a little consistency, but his riding is plenty strong enough to get him to the Olympics.

Chances: Lock. 100 percent.

Chances at the Olympics: Given that inconsistency, it's hard to say where he'll end up at the Olympics. It could be literally anywhere. He's struggled in the biggest competitions, placing 11th, 31st and 34th in his three trips to the World Championships, and he had a rotten experience at the 2014 Winter Olympics, placing 17th after another rider crashed into him and took him out of the quarterfinals.

Belle Brockhoff

Sport: Snowboard cross

Ties to Steamboat: Another Australian native, Brockhoff trained for several years in Steamboat.

Position: Perilous? Brockhoff was in a great position to go to the Olympics and challenge for a medal, but she ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament in her knee in December while training. She's not competing now but is still hoping to compete in South Korea.

What needs to go right: It's a bit obvious, but that knee needs to heal.

Chances: We're not doctors, so it's hard to say. There's 100 percent chance she wants to compete.

Chances at the Olympics: Last season, healthy, she competed in seven World Cup events and didn't place worse than seventh, winning two of them. So, she'd have a strong shot at a medal if she were healthy. As is? It's hard to say. It may be a victory just to compete at the Olympics this time.

Christian de Oliveira

Sport: Alpine snowboarding

Ties to Steamboat: A man of many nations, de Oliveira is from Australia, rides for Portugal and trains with Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.

Position: He needs a big result. He’ll make the Portuguese team if he can meet the International Olympic Committee qualifying standards.

What needs to go right: He needs a top-30 finish in a World Cup, and so far this season, he's come up short. He placed 54th, 58th and 52nd in his first three World Cups this season, then was 43rd in the most recent, so he's moving in the right direction. He'll have several more chances to reach that mark.

Chances: Needs something good to happen: 40 percent

Chances at the Olympics: Given his lack of experience at the elite level of the sport, he'd likely be back in the pack.

Millie Bongiorno

Sport: Alpine snowboarding

Ties to Steamboat: The Australian rider trains with Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.

Position: She's in a similar spot to de Oliveira, needing to meet the IOC's Olympic standards to make her nation's Olympic team.

What needs to go right: She hasn't had that top-30 finish yet, placing 51st, 50th and 44th in her last three World Cup events.

Chances: Needs something good to happen. 40 percent.

Chances at the Olympics: She has some international experience but would likely figure into the second half of the field at the Olympics.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9.