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UW Scientist to Appear in Video for Sochi Winter Olympics

Sarah Konrad, associate project director for Wyoming’s EPSCoR office and a 2006 Winter Olympian, is interviewed for an “NBC Learn” segment on the science of snow as it relates to skiing.
Sarah Konrad, associate project director for Wyoming’s EPSCoR office and a 2006 Winter Olympian, is interviewed for an “NBC Learn” segment on the science of snow as it relates to skiing. (University of Wyoming)

A UW Faculty member and 2006 Winter Olympian will be combining her love of science with the sport in which she competed on the world stage.

Sarah Konrad has been the associate project director for Wyoming’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, or EPSCor, since December.

Konrad says she learned about NBC Learn, an educational branch of NBC News while attending an EPSCoR meeting in Washington, D.C., during May. NBC Learn produces a series of web-based short segments on the science of sports for school children, that run in conjuction with the Olympic games.

Konrad will be part of the series during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia this year, discussing the science of skiing.

“Being both an Olympian and a scientist, I figured I would be able to contribute to it,” says Konrad.  “It’s about the science of snow.  We basically talked about how snow relates to skiing, and how different types of snow affect ski speeds.  Things people don’t think about when they watch a ski race.”

At age 38, Konrad became the first U.S. female Olympian to qualify in two sports; Nordic skiing and the biathlon; for the ’06 Olympic Games. She competed in four events in Torino, Italy, finishing 14th in the women’s cross-country relay. Konrad also placed 32nd (and the first American) in the women’s Nordic 30-kilometer event.

Konrad won her first national Nordic skiing title in 2004 and competed in World Cup cross-country and biathlon events during 2005. Konrad also is a previous three-event national collegiate cycling champion at UW. She won the 2001 National Collegiate Cycling Association national road championships.

“Everyone always asks how the Olympics were, and as you can imagine being there was fantastic,” says Konrad.  “But to me, really, the greatest part of the whole thing was the journey.  Setting the goal to make the Olympic team, being able to compete with the best in the world and being able to achieve that goal.”

Konrad will also be attending the Sochi Winter Olympics in another capacity, as the chair of the US Olympic Committee Athletes Advisory Council, which oversees 47 athlete representatives for all of the various Olympic and Paralympic sports.

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