Vt. athlete's Olympic bronze inspires students - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. athlete's Olympic bronze inspires students

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STRATTON, Vt. -

"It's just really inspirational for something that. It's that could be me in a couple of years-- go to the Olympics. He lived his dream. I could do the same," Leah Fowler said.

Students at Stratton Mountain School say alumnus Alex Deibold winning a bronze shows success doesn't happen overnight and persistence pays off.

"We were just so thrilled that he made the Olympic team, and he worked so hard to get to this point. So obviously, even more thrilled to find out that he got a medal," said Kate Nolanjoyce of the Stratton Mountain School.

Deibold honed his skill on Stratton Mountain, but didn't compete in the Olympics four years ago, instead attending as a technician, maintaining boards for other riders.

"Really thrilled and so excited for Alex. He's an absolutely fabulous young man and I had the privilege of being the headmaster at this school during his tenure here," said Christopher Kaltsas, the headmaster at the Stratton Mountain School.

Students say the 27-year-old Vermonter's bronze highlights the behind-the-scenes work it takes to be a champion.

"We put a lot of effort into tuning every night and you have to get to bed early, so it's a lot of work," student Payton Alexander said.

Deibold is apparently still working very hard. Students say they see the Olympic medalist coming back to the gym frequently to work out. They say seeing his success makes them want to work harder on their goals.

Leah Fowler hit the gym after hearing the news of Deibold's third place medal.

"It's motivating," she said. "He pushed himself and he made it and he achieved his goal and it motivates me to push myself harder."

There wasn't anything easy about the competition Tuesday, either. Deibold snatched the bronze after beating teammate Trevor Jacob in the finals. A steady drizzle made for tough conditions Tuesday, but as Deibold has shown, hard work and challenges have never scared him.

Also Tuesday, Mikaela Shiffrin of the Burke Mountain Academy skied to a fifth-place finish in the giant slalom. Shiffrin will compete in the slalom on Friday where she is a medal favorite.

One other local athlete was in action Tuesday-- Bill Demong of Vermontville, N.Y., placed 38th in the men's Nordic combined competition.

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