Jan 15, 2014 8:43 PM by Greg Smith

Colorado's Bleiler hopes for gold in her final Olympics

Most Olympians fly under the radar, but winter sports enthusiasts definitely know who Gretchen Bleiler is. After years of fame, she's looking to make her last ride her best.

Bleiler may be one of the hundreds of U.S. Winter Olympians you've heard of. The 2006 Olympic silver medalist and four-time X-Games champion rose to stardom gracing commercials, magazines, and TV shows. Aside from being a world class snowboarder, she also travels, owns a business, and is an activist. Her life is so busy, even she wondered if snowboarding still had a place in it.

"Why am I still doing this, and do I still want to do this?" Bleiler told us. "I am the type of person that loves to dig deep, learn, grow, and I love to push myself, and snowboarding has been that vehicle for me for so long. This is the way I love to do it right now."

So now she's focused on the road to Sochi. And that ability to hold snowboarding above all else, she says, comes from her Aspen, CO roots.

"Aspen shaped who I am," said Bleiler. "They really stress the importance of living and playing and appreciating and respecting our natural environment. It's so unique and I'm so grateful for that upbringing because I am who I am today because of it."

Come February, the best in the world may be who she is. But winning her first ever Olympic gold isn't necessarily her goal.

"I've been on a mission all summer long," said Bleiler. "I'm fired up. I'm excited. My mission is to ride at my peak potential, and I know what that is, and I know what that looks like, and that's what I'm working towards."

Her peak potential should be enough for the peak of the medal stand.

Gretchen is in her 13th year with U.S. Snowboarding. She says this Olympics will be her last.



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