RCS’ Olympic silver carries on Cochran legacy

Published: Feb. 8, 2022 at 5:21 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 8, 2022 at 7:00 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RICHMOND, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont has produced its fair share of Winter Olympians, but no family has been as prolific in that regard as the Cochran clan. On late Monday night into Tuesday morning, 29-year-old Ryan Cochran-Siegle became the latest member of the family to write his name into Olympic history.

It was a festive mood Tuesday at the Cochran’s Ski Area in Richmond, the training ground for many an Olympic ski racer. The latest, 29-year old Ryan Cochran-Siegle, overnight became the second member of Vermont’s first family of skiing to claim an Olympic medal. RCS threw down a phenomenal run in the Super G. As many of the top contenders were crashing out, he kept his edge, eventually finishing only four-one-hundredths of a second behind Matthias Mayer of Austria, and claiming a silver medal, his first career podium in his second Olympics.

To find the last time a Cochran earned Olympic hardware, you’ve gotta go back 50 years. Friday will be the 50th anniversary of Ryan’s mother, Barbara Ann Cochran, claiming Olympic gold in the slalom in Sapporo, Japan. And needless to say, she was thrilled with her son joining her as an Olympic medalist.

“It’s really, really special that it’s been 50 years. Course I mean age-wise, I must’ve been what, like eight when I competed back then? There is a monument down here in the park and when they put it up 50 years ago they said that they were leaving space for other members of the family to add on to it if we have any more medalists. So, now I’m going okay, Ryan’s name should be added to that statue down there,” Barbara said.


And it’s not just the family that’s excited by RCS’s medal, the community is too.

“I’m wicked proud. I’m getting choked up sitting here just talking about him,” said Jeff Stetson, a Mount Abe teacher and former athletic director who coached RCS’s baseball team at Mount Abe. When he wasn’t skiing in high school, Stetson says Cochran helped the team win the D-2 state championship. “He was quiet but he was a competitor. He was one of the most competitive kids that we’ve had forever and just a great humble guy.

Stetson and his wife were co-athletic directors and are so proud of RCS’s accomplishments that they’ve hung an Olympic flag up in the school to inspire the next generation. “I think it’s important because we are a small-town Vermont, small tight-knit community and it puts something out there for everybody to say -- ‘If I have a passion and I pursue it and I keep after it forever, the sky is the limit,’” Stetson said.

in Starksboro, where RCS grew up, Town Clerk Amy McCormick says it’s exciting to see Starksboro on national TV. “In awe actually, because Starksboro is very small. We only have about 1,700 residents and it’s ecstatic for all of us. We all know Ryan and we all know Barbara Ann, so it’s very exciting,” McCormick said.

Next door at the Starksboro Cooperative Preschool where RCS attended, the kids call him “Uncle Ryan” and even showed us how he skis down the hill. “We’ve all been watching and we are very, very excited,” said Susan Pare, the school’s director.

Over at Cochran’s Ski Area, where RCS grew up skiing, the young athletes were excited to be at the home slopes of two Olympic medals, RCS’s silver adding to his mother’s gold. “These slopes were skied once by a famous skier, so it’s just more fun,” said Anne Single, 10.

“I really like skiing and also because it’s just really exciting and kind of really awesome,” added Sofia Laughlin, 12.

“It’s a magical place for kids. It’s a great place to grow up skiing and we are all very excited about Ryan,” said Jeff Laughlin, a coach with the Cochran’s Ski Club.

Ryan Cochran-Siegle of the United States competes in the men's super-G at the 2022 Winter...
Ryan Cochran-Siegle of the United States competes in the men's super-G at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 8.(Robert F. Bukaty | AP)

Vermonter and veteran Olympic sports commentator Peter Graves says Cochran-Siegle proved two things. One, is his ability to master the tough snow conditions in Beijing. And two, his ability to overcome obstacles both on and off the course.

“It is very tricky. Everybody continues to talk about how icy, how hard it is, and that means it’s very unforgiving. But when I think about Ryan, I think about the past injuries that we have noted. This is a guy that at one point was thinking of not skiing anymore and he has shown incredible determination and fight to be back,” Graves said.

Copyright 2022 WCAX. All rights reserved.