Shaun offers hugs at Winter Games (Plus a 22-picture Sochi Olympics photo gallery)

Posted by on February 11, 2014 in Featured, Olympic Dreams | 0 comments

Shaun White of the United States waves to the crowd after a run during the men's snowboard halfpipe qualifying at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Shaun White of the United States waves to the crowd after a run during the men’s snowboard halfpipe qualifying at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Hours before he went for the win, Shaun White already had delivered a gold-medal moment.jd-olympicdreamslogo

Shortly after qualifying for the Olympic halfpipe final Tuesday, White vaulted the barriers separating him from the fans and gave two young cancer patients high-fives and hugs.

“I thought, ‘He’s here? What?’” said Ben Hughes, a 10-year-old from St. Louis who was diagnosed with luekemia four years ago.

Also sharing the love was 19-year-old Kaitlyn Lyle, who, like Hughes, was in Russia courtesy of the Make A Wish Foundation.

Lyle said she had “liked” White on his Facebook page.

“I had no idea he’d do this,” she said.

She was diagnosed a bit before the Vancouver Olympics and her wish was to come to Russia, where she was torn between asking for tickets for figure skating or snowboarding.

“But when I saw Shaun win gold (in Vancouver), I chose snowboarding,” she said.

Good choice.

Reported by EDDIE PELLS of the Associated Pres from KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia. Reach him onĀ  Twitter https://twitter.com/epells

UP IN A TREE

Coaches perch in a tree to watch the downhill portion of the women's supercombined at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Monday, Feb. 10, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)

Coaches perch in a tree to watch the downhill portion of the women’s supercombined at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Monday, Feb. 10, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)

Alpine skiing coaches are also expert tree climbers.

That’s because lofty perches provide better and more expansive views of lengthy downhill courses, letting them see the best lines down the mountain for their skiers.

Coaches from most of the big teams at the Sochi Games have claimed a tree along the Rosa Khutor course. On some trees there’s even room for more than one coach.

U.S. men’s head coach Sasha Rearick explains the process.

“You first go up, put the rope up, and do the old telephone pole technique with spikes on your feet,” he says. “Then the next days, you put your fixed line up and you just (climb) up, like you’re doing a big wall.”

Rearick’s spot is on the Big Pan section of the course, midway down and just above the key Bear’s Brow jump. He estimates that his perch is about 100 or 120 feet above the ground.

“There’s advantages and disadvantages,” Rearick said. “The advantage is I can see a lot more of the course. … You can see the difference in line relatively well. The disadvantages are you don’t see the angle when the athlete comes in and picks the ski up. So that’s what we actually changed today, we put some different video spots to look at where you pick the ski up before the roll. On the ground. Coaches on the ground.”

Reported by ANDREW DAMPF of the Associated Press from KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia. Reach him at Twitter http://twitter.com/asdampf

IT’S ALL ABOUT STYLE

Now that’s headgear.

Check out this image of 10 different helmets, taken by various Associated Press photographers during various skeleton training runs at the Sochi Olympics.

In photos taken Monday, Feb. 10, 2014 and Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, top from left, Eric Neilson of Canada, Janine Flock of Austria, Alexander Kroeckel of Germany, John Fairbairn of Canada, Sarah Reid of Canada; bottom row from left, Dominic Parsons of Britain, John Daly of the United States, Hiroatsu Takahashi of Japan, Sean Greenwood of Ireland, and Katie Uhlaender of the United States train in the men and women's skeleton at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo)

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And now some more great images from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

during the women's biathlon 10k pursuit, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

during the women’s biathlon 10k pursuit, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Miriam Ziegler and Severin Kiefer of Austria compete in the pairs short program figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Miriam Ziegler and Severin Kiefer of Austria compete in the pairs short program figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Ami Nakamura of Japan and Yekaterina Lebedeva of Russia battle for control of the puck during the first period of the 2014 Winter Olympics women's ice hockey game at Shayba Arena, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Ami Nakamura of Japan and Yekaterina Lebedeva of Russia battle for control of the puck during the first period of the 2014 Winter Olympics women’s ice hockey game at Shayba Arena, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Yvonne Daldossi of Italy competes in the second heat of the women's 500-meter speedskating race at the Adler Arena Skating Center during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Yvonne Daldossi of Italy competes in the second heat of the women’s 500-meter speedskating race at the Adler Arena Skating Center during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

A cartridge flies out of the rifle of Austria's Lisa Theresa Hauser during the women's biathlon 10k pursuit, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

A cartridge flies out of the rifle of Austria’s Lisa Theresa Hauser during the women’s biathlon 10k pursuit, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise of Italy compete in the pairs short program figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise of Italy compete in the pairs short program figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Matteo Guarise of Italy falls as he and Nicole Della Monica compete in the pairs short program figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Matteo Guarise of Italy falls as he and Nicole Della Monica compete in the pairs short program figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Canada's Brad Martin falls during the men's snowboard halfpipe qualifying at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Canada’s Brad Martin falls during the men’s snowboard halfpipe qualifying at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

during the men's skeleton training at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

during the men’s skeleton training at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

Skips from top to bottom, Switzerland's Mirjam Ott, Denmark's Lene Nielsen, United States' Erika Brown, Russia's Anna Sidorova, and Japan's Ayumi Ogasawara look down the ice sheets during the women's curling competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

Skips from top to bottom, Switzerland’s Mirjam Ott, Denmark’s Lene Nielsen, United States’ Erika Brown, Russia’s Anna Sidorova, and Japan’s Ayumi Ogasawara look down the ice sheets during the women’s curling competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

China's skip Liu Rui, below, shouts to his team as they approach the house as John Shuster of the United States looks on during men's curling competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

China’s skip Liu Rui, below, shouts to his team as they approach the house as John Shuster of the United States looks on during men’s curling competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

This combination of four images shows Canada's Yuki Tsubota crashing on her last run in the women's freestyle skiing slopestyle final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.  (AP Photos/Andy Wong/Jae C. Hong)

This combination of four images shows Canada’s Yuki Tsubota crashing on her last run in the women’s freestyle skiing slopestyle final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photos/Andy Wong/Jae C. Hong)

Norway's Ola Vigen Hattestad competes on his way to win the gold medal in the men's cross-country sprint at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

Norway’s Ola Vigen Hattestad competes on his way to win the gold medal in the men’s cross-country sprint at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

Goalkeeper Jennifer Harss of Germany dives on the puck during the second period of the game against Sweden at the 2014 Winter Olympics women's ice hockey game at Shayba Arena, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Goalkeeper Jennifer Harss of Germany dives on the puck during the second period of the game against Sweden at the 2014 Winter Olympics women’s ice hockey game at Shayba Arena, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

women's skeleton singles training at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

women’s skeleton singles training at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

Julia Krass of the United States waits for her score after a run in the women's freestyle skiing slopestyle qualifying at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Julia Krass of the United States waits for her score after a run in the women’s freestyle skiing slopestyle qualifying at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Norway's Aleksander Aamodt Kilde makes a turn during Men's super combined downhill training at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)

Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde makes a turn during Men’s super combined downhill training at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)

Danny Davis of the United States competes during the men's snowboard halfpipe qualifying session at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

Danny Davis of the United States competes during the men’s snowboard halfpipe qualifying session at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

Sweden's Emil Joensson sits in the snow after the men's final of the cross-country sprint at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Sweden’s Emil Joensson sits in the snow after the men’s final of the cross-country sprint at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

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