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Emily Bamford ’15 selected to Australian Olympic alpine ski team

Bates student Emily Bamford ’15 pulled an all-nighter on Monday, but it wasn’t for studies. She stayed up waiting to hear if she’d been selected to the Australian Olympic team.

At 9:47 a.m. (in Austria, where she’s been competing), Bamford got the word: She’d been selected.

Or, as she emailed Bates head coach Rogan Connell, “I’m in!!!”

Bamford is the 11th Bobcat Olympian, and with her selection, Bates has now been represented in five straight Olympic Games. (Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

“I’m so psyched for Emily,” said Connell. “I think walking into the stadium for the opening ceremonies is going to be one of the coolest feelings she’ll ever have.”

A nationally ranked Australian junior skier growing up, Bamford competed on the Bates alpine ski team in 2012 and 2013 before taking this year off to pursue her Olympic dream.

“She made a big decision last summer, and it has worked well for everybody,” Connell said. “I think it’s just awesome. Not many people get to represent their country at the Olympics.”

“It just proves that we compete at an extremely high level.”

Emily Bamford ’15

Connell notes that quite a few skiers in Sochi will come from the ranks of Bates’ ski conference, the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association. “It’s pretty cool to see,” he said. “It just proves that we compete at an extremely high level.”

Bamford is the 11th Bobcat Olympian and the first alpine skier, and with her selection Bates has now been represented in five straight Olympic Games, dating back to the 2006 Winter Games in Turin when Nordic skier Justin Freeman ’98 represented the U.S.

Bamford will also be the first Bates student to compete in the Olympics. Arnold Adams ’33 was a student when he was selected to the U.S. track and field team for the 1932 Los Angeles Summer Olympics but did not compete due to injury.

Connell expects that Bamford will compete in the giant slalom and slalom events, Feb. 11 and 14, respectively.

Emily Bamford ’15 zooms past a gate in the giant slalom at the NCAA East Regional Meet in February 2013. (Photo: Cory Ransom)

Bamford and fellow skier Lavinia Chrystal had to wait until Monday to learn of their selection after two male Australian skiers appealed the team’s nomination of three female alpine skiers to the team. The appeal was turned down, and Bamford and Chrystal now join Greta Small on the alpine team.

“I know Emily’s very excited and very relieved to be done with the process,” said Connell.

How excited? Bamford posted a photo on Instagram of herself and Chrystal jumping for joy. And she tweeted, “I’M GOING TO SOCHI! Cant wait to wear green and gold!I!!!!”

Bates’ other 2014 Olympic contender, Sylvan Ellefson ’09, impressed observers by winning the U.S. Cross Country Championship 30K freestyle race earlier in January but he was not selected to the U.S. Olympic team.

In this audio slideshow, Bates skiers Emily Bamford ’15 and Avril Dunleavy ’15 talk about life as an alpine skier at Bates: