KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (Army News Service) -- U.S. Olympic skier Jacqueline Wiles, 21, said the
support of her Army father has been instrumental in allowing
her to ski competitively and achieve her dream of getting to
Sochi for the winter games.
Her father has been the
state judge advocate of the Oregon National Guard since
2005, and he has almost 34 years in the Army. He left active
duty in 1984, after serving at Fort Irwin, Calif., the
Presidio of San Francisco, Calif., and in the Military
District of Washington.
Wiles competed in the
Olympic ladies downhill event Feb. 12, 2014 ... finishing 26th with a
time of 1 minute 44.35 seconds, as her father, Col. David
Wiles, watched from the stands.
U.S. Olympic skiier Jacqueline Wiles looks at her proud father, Col.
David Wiles, after she competed in the Olympic ladies downhill event
at Rosa Khutor, Russia, Feb. 12, 2014. She said she is grateful that
her father has supported her skiing since she was 2 years old.
(U.S. Army photo by Gary Sheftick)
She finished just
2.78 seconds behind Slovenia's Tina Maze and Switzerland's
Dominique Gisin, who tied for the gold, both crossing the
finish with a time of 1 minute 41.57 seconds. Switzerland's
Lara Gut took the bronze with a time of 1:41.67.
USA's Julia Mancuso finished in 8th place, .99 or just under
a second behind the leader. Her speed at the bottom was just
over 100 kilometers per hour while Wiles was clocked at
Even though her time wasn't as fast as
what she hoped, Wiles said just competing and representing
her country in the Olympics was a dream come true. She
finished fourth among U.S. skiers in the final downhill
training run at Rosa Khutor, Feb. 8, 2014, qualifying her to
actually compete in the Olympic downhill event.
said she was somewhat surprised just over three weeks ago
when she found out that she would definitely be coming to
Sochi. Nominations for Team USA at the Olympic Winter Games
are made based on World Cup standings and Wiles has only
been competing on the circuit for a few months.
was named to the U.S. Ski Team in November at Copper
Mountain, Colo. Then in December, she won the Nature Valley
Alpine Championship downhill title there at Copper Mountain.
On Jan. 10, she won the downhill championship at Squaw
Wiles has been skiing since age 2,
though, almost since she began to walk. She said her father
took her and the family to Mount Hood, Ore., for regular ski
"My brother and I loved to go fast," she
said about her need for speed and decision to take up
downhill racing at age 5. She said her father has always
"He's so supportive of everything I
do," she said. "If it wasn't for him, I probably wouldn't be
here. I'm very lucky."
Both skiing and the military
have been family traditions for Wiles.
grandparents were also Army officers during World War II.
Her grandmother, then-lst Lt. Jane Wilcken, was an Army
nurse in World War II at the Battle of the Bulge. Her
grandfather was an Army dentist in the Pacific theater
during the war.
When her father commanded Camp Riliea,
Ore., from July 2011 to 2012, Jacqueline went there to
observe Army training for a weekend.
"There was a
little area set up to look like Afghanistan," Jacqueline
said, adding that she was impressed with the training.
"Jacqueline grew up in a traditional National Guard
family," the colonel said. "One weekend a month she'd see me
dress up in uniform and take off."
Now the younger
Wiles is known among U.S. Ski Team members for her military
"Everybody loves my military bag," she
said. "It helps me out at the airport."
Wiles was a
three-sport athlete in high school until her softball coach
made her choose a sport to focus on and she decided skiing
was her future.
In 2012, she was named to the
national junior team.
Now she attends Westminster
College in Salt Lake City on a merit scholarship. She trains
half days in skiing at the location of the 2002 Winter
This summer she wants to work on
agility and strength training in order to get "explosive
power" and endurance. Her plans are to "sleep, eat and
She definitely plans to be back to
the Olympics in 2018, she said, to try it again in Korea.
And she's looking forward to seeing the president in May
when the U.S. Ski Team visits the White House.
By U.S. Army Gary Sheftick
Army News Service
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