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Deibold celebrates Olympic medal - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Deibold celebrates Olympic medal

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STRATTON, Vt. -

For a Vermont Olympian it was a long road to Sochi, but a sweet ride home with some extra hardware.

Vermont native Alex Deibold says he never pictured this: a line of kids waiting to get autographs and take pictures -- of him. But since the Winter Olympics this snowboarder's life has flipped.

"Since I competed in Sochi it's been a pretty big whirlwind," Deibold said.

At four, Deibold started his snowboarding career at Bromley Mountain. He says he dedicated his life to the sport, and had his first shot at the Olympics in Vancouver, but just missed the cut to compete.

"So the team extended me the offer to come up as a wax technician and I was basically preparing the boards for my teammates. It was tough, like sitting there watching them compete at something that I wanted so badly. In the four years in between I really used that as motivation," Deibold said.

Motivation and hard work that paid off when Deibold claimed bronze in Sochi for snowboardcross. He says just being there and competing was an incredible experience, but getting a medal was something else.

"That night we went down and it was still pouring rain, there were 8,000 people, you're standing on the podium, the torches were lit right behind you-- I couldn't stop smiling. My cheeks hurt. It was just such an incredible experience," Deibold said.

Since becoming an Olympic medalist, the snowboarder has appeared on a flurry of talk shows, at ceremonies and even had the honor of dropping the puck at a Bruins game Tuesday night.

Excitement aside, he says the most rewarding aspect is finally being back home surrounded by family and friends.

"The messages and the emails -- people have been reaching out to me that I went to high school with, or went to middle school, my first grade teacher, people from the local community that just have told me how proud they are -- that support means so much more than I think people realize," said Deibold.

Deibold may not feel like a celebrity, but the fans here certainly thought he was.

"So I came here and wanted him to sign my cast, and then when I was in line I said I wanted to keep this cast forever," said Kylie Prins of Arlington.

"This is a poster that we took some articles from the Manchester Journal and then we just cut them out and out them on poster for him to sign," said Elizabeth Malinowski of Bennington.

Deibold wasn't the only Olympic medalist at the welcome home party. His longtime idol showed up too-- local legend and 2002 gold medalist Ross Powers. He now works with the area ski school and says it brings back memories of his own Olympic homecoming, inspiring kids to follow their dreams.

"It gives a lot of hope. These kids go out, work hard, and put the time in and have a positive attitude they can go in and maybe be the next Olympic medalist. So, it's cool how the cycle keeps going," said Olympic medalist Ross Powers.

Deibold's busy schedule is far from over. On Monday he flies to Europe for a World Cup Event, and then the training for next season begins. He says, of course, with another Olympic medal always on his mind.

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