Ryan Cochran-Siegle poses during the men's super-G medal ceremony at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on Feb. 8, 2022 in Yanqing, China.
BEIJING — Fifty years ago, almost to the day, Barbara Ann Cochran won an Olympic gold medal in slalom. Her Rossignol Stratos and her race bib hang from the base lodge ceiling of Cochran’s Ski Area in Richmond, Vermont.
Now the ski area will have to make room for another pair of skis and bib. Cochran’s 29-year-old son, Ryan Cochran-Siegle, won an Olympic silver medal in men’s super-G at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
Wearing bib #14 (the place that he finished in yesterday’s downhill), Cochran-Siegle laid down a near perfect run. He crossed the finish line, took off his skis, looked at the camera and said, “What’s up, Vermont. I hope that holds.”
Cochran-Siegle held on to second place with a time of 1:19.98, just 0.04 of a second behind winner Matthias Mayer, an Austrian who defended his 2018 Olympic super-G title. Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde in third won his first Olympic medal in 1:20.36.
Aamodt Kilde was heavily favored to win multiple medals at these Winter Games. So when Cochran-Siegle saw that his time was almost a half-second faster than the Norwegian’s, he knew it was good.
“Part of me recognized that I was skiing well, and trusting that, and just fighting all the way to the finish,” he said after the race. “But yeah, it's definitely a special, special run.”
Back at the 1972 Sapporo Olympic Games, BA — as she is known by friends and family — was nervous between her two slalom runs (the tech events of slalom and giant slalom are based on two runs; the speed events, super-G and downhill, are just one run).
Her father, family patriarch Mickey Cochran — who started Cochran’s Ski Area when he installed a rope tow and lights in the family’s backyard so his four kids could ski every day after school — said to his nervous daughter, “I thought you were the cool cucumber.”
Mom passed on the love to her son — not just about competing but about the joy of skiing and the pride in representing your country. Before Cochran-Siegle competed in the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, she wrote him a letter advising him to just enjoy the experience.
“I told him it’s not all about the results,” she told the Associated Press. “Sure, medals are really nice, but it’s not all about the results. Enjoy the time that you’re there and be proud of the fact that you’re representing the U.S., and just go out and do your best.”
Cochran-Siegle heeded her advice.
“Happy, relieved, a little bit of proud,” he said when asked how he felt about winning an Olympic medal. “But just really appreciating that I'm here and able to accomplish my childhood dream on a day like today. It's a lot of really good and positive emotions.”