Printed on: January 10, 2013

New Year milestones plentiful

Marlowe Hereford

Upon the return of this column from its holiday hiatus, both local and international Olympic news seems to have skyrocketed since the New Year began.

Salmon's Kollin Cockrell, who took sixth and set personal records at the American Open Weightlifting Championships in Dec. in Palm Springs, Calif., to conclude his junior division career, has been invited to compete at the Reykjavik International Games scheduled for Jan. 26 and 27 in Reykjavik, Iceland. The 2011 Salmon High School graduate is a sophomore at Louisiana State-Shreveport, where he competes in collegiate weightlifting.

The Reykjavick Games will be just the second international event Cockrell has competed in. He made his international debut last May by placing 10th overall at the Junior World/Pan Am Champion-ships in Guatemala that featured 272 athletes from 54 nations.

"He was pretty ecstatic about it," said Kevin Cockrell, Kollin's father, about his son receiving the invite from Reykjavick competition representatives. "It's a world class event and would up his total in the world standings."

Kevin said although he and his mother and siblings will be unable to watch Kollin in person, they hope to watch it online.

This week is a big one for Rigby's Jessika Jenson, who makes her U.S. Snowboarding debut at the Copper Mountain stop of the 2013 Grand Prix Grand Prix Snowboarding and Freeskiing Series. The 21 year-old is currently 35th in the women's slopestyle overall rankings of The World Snowboard Tour, which ranks the top athletes and events in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Oceania.

Competition began Wednesday and slopestyle finals are scheduled for Friday. Check themedalstand.postregister.com for a full roster of competitors and an event schedule.

Coming up locally

The annual Teton Valley Snow Fest begins Friday and continues through Jan. 20 with events in Driggs, Tetonia, Victor and Alta, Wyo. The bulk of the events take place Jan. 17 to 20 including a Nordic race, ice sculpting and snow bike and snow kite demos.

With all area ski resorts now open, events are in full swing. January is also national Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month. Sun Valley, Pomerelle Resort in Albion, Pebble Creek in Inkom and Grand Targhee are among the Idaho resorts organizing events as part of Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month.

Sun Valley opened its new Olympic-sized 22-foot deep superpipe on Sunday at Dollar Mountain's Old Bowl, one of three such superpipes in the nation.

Team USA Update

This is a condensed recap of major Olympic goings-on recently. For complete recaps since the New Year began, check themedalstand.postregister.com.

Current Sweden women's national team coach and former U.S. women's national team coach Pia Sundhage received the Women's Coach of the Year award Monday at the annual FIFA Ballon D'or awards in Zurich, Switzerland, honoring the top soccer athletes of 2012.

Like the many other recognitions she received in recent months, Sundhage accepted the award with a song, serenading the audience that included U.S. athletes Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan with Bob Dylan's "If Not For You."

Moments later, Wambach received the Women's World Player of the Year award, becoming the first American to receive it since Mia Hamm in 2002.

Morgan and Brazil's Marta were also in the running. Wambach, who has 152 international goals, could break Hamm's record of 158, the most of any soccer player.

Vail teenager and U.S. skier Mikaela Shiffrin added to her statement second World Cup season with a 1.19-second win in Friday's slalom at Zagreb, Croatia.

The 17 year-old won the first World Cup race of her career Dec. 20 in Are, Sweden. The victories made Shiffrin the first American female to win two World Cup races before her 18th birthday and boosted her lead in the world slalom standings to 336 points.

Lindsey Vonn, who who took a midseason break to regain strength after battling a serious intestinal virus in November, announced Jan. 3 that she will resume training to return to the World Cup circuit.

Her last competition was the Dec. 16 giant slalom in Courchevel, France, during which she fell.

Marlowe Hereford is a sports reporter for the Post Register. Contact her at 542-6772 or mhereford@postregister.com.