Central Oregon kids inspired by Winter Olympics athletes

Skiers, hockey players among role models

Central Oregon kids inspired by...

BEND, Ore. - The Winter Olympics are now less than 100 days away, and it's the time of year when kids get excited about winter sports.

The Mount Bachelor Sports Education Foundation director said many kids in the program are inspired by what they see on TV.

Much like how many people want to play football because of Russell Wilson or basketball because they see Damian Lillard, Winter Olympic athletes help inspire the next generation of Olympians.

"The Olympic downhill is kind of the big event," MBSEF Director John Schiemer said Wednesday. "Kids will watch the downhill and they'll want to come back and -- we offer a downhill at Mt. Bachelor in February, and kids get inspired by that."

On Wednesday night, at a youth hockey practice, NewsChannel 21 talked to a player who said Sydney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins were his inspirations for picking up a stick.

"They're really good hockey players," Max Vlasak said. "I just wanted to play. (Crosby's) backhand -- he just hits it."

Max also named his dad and his brother for inspiring him to get out on the ice.

Several athletes from Oregon are competing for a spot on the national Olympic team, including Laurenne Ross, Tommy Ford, Hunter Hess and Jake Mageau.

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