Silver medalist Shannon Bahrke celebrates for Tahoe
Sitting in front of cameras, booms and TV anchors Monday, Tahoe City skier Shannon Bahrke told the nation what it’s like to bring home one of the nation’s first silver medals. She is also telling the world how proud she is to have the support of family, friends, coaches and from her hometown.
Bahrke, a 1998 graduate of North Tahoe High School in Tahoe City and freestyle skier with the Squaw Valley Ski Team, won the silver medal Saturday in the women’s mogul competition behind Kari Traa of Norway.
Bahrke had just finished interviews on the “Today Show,” MSNBC and, she thinks, CBS, when she spoke to the Tribune Monday night.
“I’ve been up since 3 a.m. and I didn’t go to bed until 1:30 a.m.,” she said. Media engagements, such as a Sports Illustrated party the night before, meeting with fans and other Olympic athletes were keeping her bouncing from one event to the next, she said.
“This is the first day I’ve been able to hang with my family,” she said, noting that the hourlong reunion was short-lived. She did mention, however, that she managed to take a nap between TV interviews and calls from reporters. But she is happy to have the support of family and friends.
Her grandparents witnessed her silver medal run, which was the first time they had seen her ski at an international competition.
“It was really amazing having them here,” she said.
Many of Bahrke’s fans had not seen her ski at an international race either , she said, so having them at her Olympic debut was special.
“One of my best friends from New York and her family came out … my boyfriend and his family, and my family from LA,” she said of her family fan base. “They’re calling themselves the ‘Bahrke Brigade,'” she said.
In regard to a ski career, Bahrke said her family never doubted her for a second, but confessed that some were hesitant at first.
“But seeing that I was really serious and competitive changed that,” she said.
Bahrke hasn’t had time to celebrate, but she is fantasizing about extravagant amounts of vacation time after the Olympics. For now, however, she wants to help support other athletes.
Her plans this week: “I plan to be a super fan. Hopefully I can see others bring home medals.”
Bahrke said she has developed some strong friendships over the years, and some of those friendships extend to other Olympic medal winners — even her competitors.
Standing at the podium, Bahrke recalled singing the Norwegian national anthem along with gold medal winner Kari Traa.
“I respect Kari so much. She’s a wonderful, wonderful person,” Bahrke said. “And so is Tae. I was surrounded by greatness.”
While on the podium Bahrke also saw her Squaw Valley coach, Raymond DeVre.
“I thought I wouldn’t be able to see anyone in the crowd,” she said. “Ray DeVre came out, and it meant a lot to me. He waved to me at the podium and I got all teary-eyed. It was really amazing to have him there.”
When asked if one person in particular inspired her effort on the mountain, Bahrke said she gets inspiration from everyone around her. She looks up to her family and her little brother, who as a burgeoning aerial performer is a new source of motivation.
And Bahrke is no less motivated by her support from her hometown of Tahoe City.
In the events and parties she has already enjoyed, Bahrke says she tells everyone she couldn’t have done it without support from home.
“I am truly proud to be from Tahoe,” she said.