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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

Alana Nichols, 30, Alpine Skiing/Paralympian

ALANA_NICHOLS47 copy copy_EDITIn addition to alpine skiing, you play wheelchair basketball. Is there one sport you like better?
The thing about basketball is you get to share in accomplishing a goal with 11 other girls. Everybody’s just this big family. I think that’s pretty special. Alpine skiing, at its core, is a very individual sport, so you’re very much on your own when it comes to competing. I don’t think I can say I like one more than the other.

You’ve been to three previous Olympic Games. What is your favrite part?
I always look forward to opening ceremonies. Every host country really does incredible stuff. I mean, when I went to Beijing, I was like, “pinch me, this can’t be real,” you know? These women were floating through the sky. It’s crazy!

Sounds amazing. Have you ever won?
I am lucky to have three gold medals, a silver and a bronze, and I keep all of those at my uncle’s house. But I keep one with me, to be able to show off and share with people. It stays in my backpack. I actually showed it to the person I was sitting next to on the plane last night.

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