Much of the attention on the slopestyle events in Sochi has been focused on snowboarders like Shaun White. But Devin Logan and her other American teammates twist and soar down mountains, too — on skis.
I first met Logan at an Olympic qualifier event in Colorado back in December. We were hanging out at the base of the halfpipe watching the competition. She's 20. She smiles a lot. We bonded over Instagram and 2 Chainz. I told her I'd look for her in Sochi — but she didn't know then if she'd even make the U.S. team.
Well, Logan did make it to Sochi. And since being here, I've tailed her for a few days. The first time we sat down here, during a training session in the mountains, was in a chairlift — my first time ever sitting in a chairlift.
"Hold tight," she said, laughing, as the seat scooped us into the air, my microphone shaking in my hands. "You're fine until we try to get off. Hopefully they'll try to slow it down for you."
On the way up the mountain, Logan said being at the Olympics is still pretty surreal. "It's so like, out of my head. I still can't believe I'm skiing in Russia, in the U.S. freeskiing team. It's still insane to me!"
A lifetime on snow
But it's really not insane that she's here. Logan's been around sports since — well, she's always been around sports. Even when she was a baby, her mom "was coaching my sisters' soccer games and pushing me around in the stroller on the sidelines," Logan says.
Logan, the youngest of five kids, grew up on Long Island and always wanted to be on the snow just like her brothers — who both became professional skiers. Logan says she tried all kinds of skiing before picking freestyle.
"I even did acroskiing. It's like ballet skiing," she says. "You like dance to music basically on snow. And I did it to [the] 'Little Mermaid' [song] 'Under the Sea' when I was 6 years old."
Just a few years later, her family knew this was getting serious. But money was tight, as it is for the families of many Olympic hopefuls. So they had a family meeting, Logan recalls.
"My parents basically sat me down in seventh grade, were like, 'Well, this costs a lot of money. Are you all in, or are you gonna just like half-ass it? We need to know: How committed are you?'
She was committed. Logan ended up moving to Vermont from Long Island to ski and train at the prestigious Mount Snow Academy. And it paid off. The Association of Freeskiing Professionals currently ranks Logan as the best female freestyle skier in the world. She's already won several X Games medals and has overcome a major knee injury.
On Tuesday, Logan will be one of four women competing for the U.S. in the freestyle skiing slopestyle event.
A bundle of cool
OK, I bet you're asking, "What exactly is slopestyle?" Well, it's a downhill course you can take on skis or a snowboard. The course has big jumps and several "rails" or "jibs" — those are things you can ride over or slide down. It's kind of like a big skate park, but with snow. The snowboard slopestyle events wrapped over the weekend.
Some athletes have called Sochi's slopestyle courses dangerous; superstar Shaun White even pulled out of snowboard slopestyle after suffering an injury on the course during practice. But Logan says she's not worried.
"This course isn't all that bad," she says. "What we do is scary in general. But we know how to do it. Walking across the street can be dangerous."
And that's Logan's thing — she says she doesn't stress. She eats whatever she wants, including McDonald's, right in the Olympic Village. Logan's pre-competition routine is sometimes little more than jammin' out to old-school DMX songs. In her downtime in Russia, she's just trying to pick up a little Russian and get the locals to crack a few smiles.
She's definitely going to college, she says, but she'll finish whenever she finishes. Her sport is her focus right now; she's on the "10-year plan," as she calls it.
Essentially, Logan has all of the strength and drive of a world-class athlete — it just seems to be wrapped up in a big bundle of cool.
Her mother, Nancy Logan, on the other hand, is pretty stoked, as they say. She arrived in Sochi on Monday, just in time for her daughter's competition. I caught up with her just a few hours after she got off the plane — her first plane trip in 15 years, she says.
'A family effort' to reach Sochi
Sitting on the steps of her lodgings near the course, Nancy Logan said it took more than talent to get Devin to the Olympics.
"She went out, and she raised money on her own," Nancy says. "We had fundraisers through my store. Her sisters helped. Her father helped. Her grandparents helped. So, it has been a family effort."
Nancy owns her own small business, Wilmington Candle Co., in Vermont, but when that hasn't been enough over the years, she's done more. "I clean on the side," she says. "I clean condos, houses. Every little bit helps. If there's a child with potential, you want to give them the best opportunity."
Nancy doesn't make a big deal about this — she just does what she needs to do. "Whatever you do, whether I'm cleaning condos, or making a candle ... or whatever. You do it the best you can do it. ... There's no regrets."
From what I've seen, it's safe to say like mother, like daughter.
Logan competes Tuesday, just a few days before she turns 21. She plans to celebrate right in the athletes' village, where she might have a beer or two, she says, or maybe a little Russian vodka — nothing too crazy.
Win or lose, she says she plans to have a good time. Like her mother says, no regrets.