Butte native Wilson preparing for Olympic moguls

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BUTTE, Mont. (AP) - To be a great athlete most need some type of natural-born, talent. To become an Olympian, one needs so much more.

Butte native Bradley Wilson combined talent, passion and dogged effort to become one of the best skiers in the world. It is that recipe that has given him the opportunity to represent the United States in the men’s mogul competition at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

His event is set to begin at 7 a.m. Monday (MTS) with the qualification rounds. The finals are set to start four hours later.

Until then, the 2011 graduate of Butte Central is taking in the experience at one of the more talked about and controversial locations for the Winter Games.

“The experience so far has been amazing,” Wilson said in an email from Sochi on Wednesday. “What a crazy place it is here, you get off the plane and there are palm trees next to the Black Sea, then an hour away you are skiing on some of the biggest mountains I’ve ever seen, and where it is cold enough to keep the snow nice.”

Wilson, 21, qualified for the Olympics in January when he finished third at the moguls FIS World Cup in Quebec, Canada.

Now he will embark on taking the next step to join his older brother, Bryon Wilson, who won a bronze medal in the same event during the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada. Bryon barely missed out on the chance to compete alongside his brother in Sochi.

“The course is pretty tough and it seems like most of the venues here are pretty difficult as far as what I’ve heard,” Bradley Wilson said. “It’s shaping up nice. The weather has been great, too, so far, with blue skies every day. It’s beautiful. I am looking forward to the next couple days of training and the event on Monday.”

Monday will, in all probability, be the biggest day of Bradley Wilson’s life.

So, how did a kid from the Mining City get to Sochi? From all who spoke on behalf of him, it was a combination of physical talent, a lot of determination, and a good heart that paved the way.

“I have been friends with Brad since the third grade,” Jonathan Richards said. “We played little-guy football together as well as basketball, when he wasn’t skiing, up until high school. Brad has always been extremely driven, even when we were 9, 10 years old. Brad never backed down to anyone, whether it was skiing, basketball or football. I always really admired Brad for that.”

Richards also noted that part of what makes Wilson who he is comes from a tight-knit family, one that taught him the art of humility and a strong work ethic.

His father, also named Bryon Wilson, works for UPS. He and Jeanette worked part-time remodeling homes, with their sons in tow.

“We brought him onto the slopes at the age of 4, so he started pretty early,” Bradley’s father said. “He took off right away and he skied as good as he walked. He was naturally gifted, but it takes a lot of patience to get to the position he is at.

“He was taught to work hard. Don’t give a kid time to get into any trouble and they won’t. He was taught to be humble and help other people. You don’t have to go out and brag about yourself and don’t toot your own horn. Let others do it.”

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