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Olympians Gather in the Windy City

Fri, Sep  11, 2009 - By US Ski Team

CHICAGO (Sept. 10) - Hundreds of the nation's top media outlets are hunkered down in the heart of the windy city to conduct pre-Games interviews with America's top Vancouver Bound Olympic hopefuls as the USOC Media Summit opened up for business in Chicago Thursday.

Among the athletes making the rounds throughout the weekend are Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety (Park City, UT), Olympic silver medalist Shannon Bahrke (Tahoe City, CA), World Champions Ryan St. Onge (Winter Park, CO), Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO), Pat Deneen (Cle Elum, WA), Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY), Grand Prix overall champions Steve Fisher (Breckenridge, CO) and Louie Vito (Sandy, UT) and numerous other accomplished skiers and snowboarders.

"We're meeting a lot of reporters and getting a lot of photo shoots done and we're having fun," Deneen said. "The season is approaching. This time of year gets me excited and the media summit gets me thinking about the Olympics a lot more."

Deneen spent time in numerous photo shoots with organizations like the Associated Press, Getty Images and Reuters where he posed for candid photos in uniforms, with his skis and wearing the red white and blue for his team.

Deneen also sat in the hot seat for a while as the athlete round table discussions got underway. The nation's press filled the room, moving from table to table in order to get in interviews with the multiple athletes seated at various stations.

Like Deneen, athletes spend about a day in Chicago where they hit the ground running through countless photo sessions, TV interviews, press conferences and roundtable discussions in order to provide material and information that will serve the national press for the lead up to and duration of the Olympics.

"It's a pretty crazy day. I started at seven o'clock this morning and it's not going to be done till 11. It's a pretty hectic day for sure. Hopefully I can talk by the end," Ligety reported as he ran from photo shoot to photo shoot.

Ligety's schedule is fit for a gold medalist, complete with sit down interviews with NBC the Olympic network, and CNN, as well as a photo shoot with Men's Journal magazine and Ralph Lauren.

The Summit continues through Saturday.