Athletes come so close to Sochi

Fruitvale native Joe Ceccini and former Red Mountain Racer Sasha Zaitsoff just missed an opportunity to compete at the 2014 Games.

A trip to Sochi, Russia was oh so close for a pair of local Olympic hopefuls who failed to make the cut for their respective teams this month.

Fruitvale native Joe Ceccini and former Red Mountain Racer Sasha Zaitsoff just missed an opportunity to compete at the 2014 Games in Sochi next week.

For Ceccini, it came down to one race. Needing a top-17 finish to qualify for the Italian national skeleton team, the 31-year-old slid to a 27th placing at the World Cup in Igls, Austria on Jan. 18 dashing the Calgary police officer’s hopes.

For Zaitsoff, it was a matter of points, and when the final athletes were named to the Olympic team earlier this week, he wasn’t among the group.

See ZAITSOFF, Page 11

“It is really disappointing that I will not get to go since it is something that I have worked towards for many years,” he told the Nelson Star. “Everybody had a fair chance to make it to the team, and the way the selection process worked my results just weren’t good enough. I’m happy for the guys that will be going, they skied well and deserve to be there.”

Zaitsoff’s season continues with him leaving Europe Thursday for Stowe, Vermont where he will compete in the next North American Cup races.

“Since I am not attending the Olympics my plan is to race in the rest of the NorAm races this season and secure a top two in the overall rankings,” he said.

This would give him a World Cup spot next season. The 23-year-old got his start racing with the Nancy Greene ski league in Fernie before moving with his family to Nelson where he continued training with the Red Mountain Racers.

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