Speed Skating to Speed Skiing: Brian Hansen

The first time I met Brian Hansen was in September, in the weight room of the recreation center. He was in incredible shape; strong, powerful, and sturdy. It was obvious he knew what he was doing and he was used to a regiment of working out. A regiment that lead him to the winter olympic games. Twice.

Brian Hansen is a sophomore of the University of Colorado Boulder, Leeds School of Business. He’s 6’0’’ and weighs 181lb. When I introduced myself to Brain, he left a very humble impression on me. Once Brian was out of ear shot, my coach explained to me how he competed at the 2014 Sochi Olympic games and the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, where he won a silver medal in the men’s speed skating team pursuit. Astonished, I asked why he was joining the ski team. My coach replied how he was eager to learn how to ski and joining a team was the best way to do so.

Brian Hansen competing in the men’s speed skating 1500 m final on day 9 of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

Not even five months later, Brian is carving turns down difficult terrain, and through race courses. Anyone who didn’t know Brian would assume he started skiing at age two – like the majority of his competitors – when in reality, he started skiing in October of 2014. Since he recently started skiing, Brian is one of the last racers to take their turn on the course. In ski racing it’s called, “attacking from the back.” Attacking from the back and being an underdog is not a new thing for Brian Hansen. In the 2010 Vancouver games, the men’s Dutch ski team was a heavy favorite, yet a 19 year-old Brian Hansen and team pulled through the upset the Dutch and make it to the final round, “When we beat the Dutch, I crossed the [finish] line like 98 percent sure we lost, and I looked at the score board and I think we were all pretty shocked.” Brian explained this to me when I asked him what it was like to win an olympic medal. Brian’s team went on to race Canada for the gold medal and lost by two tenths of a second which isn’t much in a three minutes and 42 second race.

Brian Hansen competing in the first race of the 2014-2015 season, at Winter Park, Colorado.

With Brian’s transition from speed skating to skiing still amazing me, I inquired about a correlation between the two, Brain said, “I think [being a talented speed skater has helped me be a talented skier]. I don’t think there has ever been a really high level speed skater who has switched over to skiing or who has tried both at least…I’m a pioneer.” Brian says ski racing is, “more about just seeing if I could get good and have fun with it.” Brian is a good ski racer who has improved from day to day and according to Brian, “skiing is a lot of fun.” I’m eager to follow Brian’s remainder of ski season and his never ending success story.

Contact information: Brian Hansen, brian.hansen@colorado.edu


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