It’s not often kids hear from their heroes, but that’s just what happened to Jet Feirn, 9, on Tuesday.
Jet wrote a letter to Shaun White 15 months ago after being told by his mom that he was born with the same heart defect as White. Feirn and White also share a love for snowboarding, as NBC KARE 11 in Minnesota reports.
Jet was born less than four pounds with the heart defect tetralogy of Fallot, leading to two open-heart surgeries before kindergarten, according to the report.
The TV station first aired a piece on Feirn’s letter for White last month. A viewer with connections to White noticed and made sure the Olympic champion got the message.
White wrote back. Feirn received an autographed snowboard, helmet, goggles, a backpack and a poster on Tuesday.
Steve Langton, who was described by driver Steven Holcomb as the “best push athlete in the world,” announced his retirement today.
A collegiate sprinter and jumper at Northeastern University, Langton decided to try bobsledding after watching the 2006 Winter Olympics. He filled out an online athlete resume, and, by the 2010 Games, he was an Olympian.
At the Sochi 2014 Games, Langton teamed with Holcomb to win a bronze medal in the two-man race. It was the first Olympic medal in the event by American sled since 1952. He claimed another bronze medal as a member of Holcomb’s four-man “Night Train.”
“In Sochi I competed on the world’s biggest stage, I won two medals for my country and I did so along not only the best teammates but best friends anyone could ever ask for,” Langton told USA Bobsled.
Langton, who has a 62-inch standing box jump and can squat more than 500 pounds, was described by Men’s Health as “the most powerful winter Olympian” in the lead-up to 2014 Games.
“[Langton’s] work ethic and discipline rubbed off on the other athletes and made everyone better,” said USA Bobsled & Skeleton Chief Executive Officer Darrin Steele. “I have no doubt that he’ll find success in the next chapter of his life as well.”
Langton appeared on “The Amazing Race” in 2015 with his girlfriend, Aly Dudek, an Olympic short track speedskater.
None of the push athletes on the current U.S. roster have Olympic experience. Holcomb will compete in the World Cup opener this Saturday with Sam McGuffie, a former University of Michigan football player. The race will be McGuffie’s World Cup debut.