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Gold rush

While the rest of us hibernate, these 11 American Olympians are braving the ice and snow in pursuit of a medal at the Sochi Games. They took a breather to talk to Hemispheres.

Author Jacqueline Detwiler Photography Sasha Nialla

Torin Yater-Wallace, 18, Freeskiing/Halfpipe

TORIN_YATER_WALLIACE10 copynewFL_EDITThe 2014 Olympics is the first ever to include freeskiing. What does that mean to you?
I’m really excited, because it’s a much bigger and broader audience than we’ve presented to before. I mean, ESPN, X Games—there are a ton of people watching worldwide, but it’s not even comparable to the amount of people watching the Olympics. So it’s really cool that we’ll be able to show what our whole life is about.

Do you have a pre-competition ritual you use to keep your cool in front of such a big audience?
I like to just be quiet at the top of the pipe, hang out, keep to myself. I listen to music a lot, too. I don’t really listen to it before; I just listen to it when I’m on the pipe.

You can have headphones on while you’re out there?       
Oh yeah, most people do. I listen to a lot of older rap, like Nas and Big L. You gotta have something that’s very loud that gets you in that zone. Then as the beat drops, that’s when you drop in, and you don’t even really hear the song until you finish. Then you’re like, “Oh yeah, that was crazy.”

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