WESTON, Mo. - An American Olympian competing in Sochi used to train with a coach who now teaches at Snow Creek Ski Area.
Jacqueline Hernandez made Team USA as a snowboard cross racer in the 2014 Winter Games.
"I was really hoping that she'd make it and when she called me and told me I was just ecstatic,” Jordan Talbot said, who has taught hundreds of people how to snowboard since becoming an instructor in 2001. “She was one of the first students I ever coached and I'm super proud of her. I can't wait to cheer her on when she's representing the U.S. in Sochi."
Talbot coached Hernandez while working at a ski resort in New York about a decade ago.
"We have stayed in touch. She was actually in my wedding. I taught her for about four years from when she was about nine until she was about 13,” Talbot said, who always thought Hernandez might be the one to make the Olympics. "I had a pretty good idea. She was always just very calm and focused but she didn't take it too seriously. It was always still fun for her."
Talbot considers Hernandez to be one of the “up and coming” snowboard cross racers.
"She's 20 years old so she's got a lot of time ahead of her to really do a great job in this sport,” Talbot said.
She expects her former student to do well in Sochi and in future Olympics.
Talbot forwarded us an e-mail that Hernandez sent her from Sochi: "I literally wouldn’t be here without you. You got me going and kept me going when I needed it.”
You can watch Hernandez compete on Sunday, February 16. You can also follow Hernandez on Facebook here: http://on.fb.me/1ggNJj9