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Upper Valley Olympics announcer returns home - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Upper Valley Olympics announcer returns home

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THETFORD, Vt. -

It's where Peter Graves feels most at home -- in front of a microphone.  He helped kick off the Junior National Cross Country Skiing Championship in Stowe over the weekend.  Thousand of miles away from were he spent most of the month of February -- Sochi, Russia.

"I have come back with a strong sense that these were extraordinary games," Graves said.

Sochi was the Thetford resident's 8th Olympic Games, and he says it will go down in the history books as one of the best. "I think the Russian people were incredible open and friendly, security was very, very tight there, and I have to say I never felt unsafe there," he said.

Graves usually announces cross country skiing and ski jump events, but in Russia he was assigned to the alpine ski hill, calling the racers runs as they happened for the thousands gathered to watch.  "They were incredible to call for me.  Maybe some of the most exciting PA announcing I have ever had the chance to do," he said.

He announced Andrew Weibrecht's silver medal winning race as well as Bode Miller's bronze. And on the women's side, Mikaela's Shiffrin's historic gold medal in the slalom -- an experience for a man who has made a career with words -- and that left him speechless. "I was probably holding my breath at that point, so I probably just took a pause," Graves said.

Graves says the hardest part was not coming across too biased for his home town favorites -- giving all the athletes their due credit. And now that he is back on familiar soil, this Vermonter -- who grew up skiing in Bennington -- has a moment to reflect."To witness it. Just to be there, let alone call it, was very exciting and I know that I had tears in my eyes with those U.S. finishes.  They were really powerful," Graves said.

Like the Winter Olympics as a whole.  An international contest that comes around every four years that this announcer says he is blessed to be apart of. "I think the games bring the best out in all of us.  We think about it bringing the best out in the athletes. We know what it is like to strive for international excellence and go for gold, silver and bronze, but I think it also brings the best out in people too," Graves said.

Graves says he is already thinking ahead to the next Winter Olympics in South Korea, but he says Sochi will always hold a special place in his heart.

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