Young figure skater Sophie Hansen expected a meet-and-greet with Olympic ice dancing champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White. It turned out to be much more.
Sophie, 12, has been a patient at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City since age 3. Doctors diagnosed her with an auto-immune liver disease, and she’s been waiting for a transplant for one year, as NBC affiliate KSL in Utah reported.
Sophie said she’s been watching Davis and White skate for a long time. She met them at an event in Sun Valley, Idaho, recently.
“Charlie asked me if I wanted to skate with them,” Sophie said. “He picked me up and flipped me around and put me on his shoulder. It was awesome.”
“Sophie’s family said that she had an amazing time in Sun Valley,” a Primary Children’s Hospital spokesperson said, according to the Valley Sun in Idaho. “Her mother said she couldn’t stop smiling and that the experience made her entire year.”
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.