Wilson makes most of his time in Butte

A few days at home in Butte will hopefully be the quiet respite Brad Wilson has been seeking since the middle of February.

He seemed comfortable but not totally relaxed Saturday as he mingled with friends, family and new acquaintances at the Butte Plaza Mall where this year’s Montana AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) Little Sullivan Awards Banquet was being held.

Wilson was in attendance as a candidate. The organization annually presents the Little Sullivan Award to the top male and female athlete in Montana as selected by a committee.

Basketball players gleaned the honors Josh Huestis of Great Falls and Stanford University being chosen the men’s Little Sullivan winner, and Jordan Sullivan of Sidney and the University of Montana, the women’s.

Wilson’s older brother, Bryon, was the male Little Sullivan winner four years ago after capturing the Bronze Medal in men’s freestyle skiing moguls at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. Brad Wilson competed in the 2010 Winter Olympics at Sochi, Russia, last February.

He didn’t medal, though one as shiny as gold was certainly in the conversation at the early stages of Wilson’s run. It was possible. Maybe, he tried too hard. He fell. He wound up 20th overall, but he nearly shocked the world, too.

Wilson has been wrestling with that split-second tussle between caution and spectacular that spelled the difference and the tussle has been ongoing since that February day. Unfortunate it is though that it seems the prestige of the achievement to even be at the Olympics as a competitor, to be in contention for best-in-the-world status has since been lost on viewers, voters and, perhaps, the skier himself.

The backwards fall occurred after Wilson landed a spectacular jump off the upper ramp on the hill. His speed was maybe his best ever and the successful completion of the jump was in absolute wowing manner as he aggressively attacked the course.

However, his balance was never fully recovered, Wilson indicated and, so, came the short, quick tumble only seconds later. Uninjured, he sprang immediately back atop his skis, but the points were lost and speed and bottom-ramp acrobatics would not be enough to stick him to the podium. It was over.

“It took a while to get over it,” Wilson, 21, said. “It’s been hard. I was just so (emotionally) down after the crash.

“It really was Butte that brought me back up. I really am proud to have this town behind me.”
Complicating that Olympic moment, Wilson said, was the fact that he won the same event against the same competition the next weekend at a World Cup meet in Japan. So he kicked himself around a little more for not performing similarly the week prior.

Medicine for the soul is what Wilson said he is finding on his return to his hometown. He has resided in Park City, Utah, the past recent years due to it being the training headquarters for the United States Ski Team. It is where Wilson will go back to when his Butte visit ends.

The Olympic experience plays over in his mind, he related. Now, back in the land of the determined, Wilson said he wants the daily haunt to continue  for four more years, maybe even eight.

“I’m excited about it,” he said with wide eyes, hurried talk and a big smile. “I will have progressed so much more by then.”

So a couple of months time away from the incident have helped, but hasn’t cured. However, as Wilson said, he wants to let it hurt some, as a reminder, as a driving force for the next Games in 2018 in South Korea. Wilson didn’t come back right away. He loves his sport and uses his ability and knowledge to give back to it. He volunteered at a children’s ski camp in Sweden immediately after the Olympics and spent some wind-down time there.

He will rejoin his brother in training in Park City before they go on to Whistler Mountain, the 2010 Olympic run outside of Vancouver, for a three-week camp in June. Training in Switzerland is on the calendar later this summer and then the World Championships season begins in December. The finals of the circuit are set for Kreichberg, Austria, next January.

Bryon Wilson, 26, was not selected for this year’s Olympics, despite the Bronze Medal he captured in 2010 and despite him being a proven clutch performer in international competition. As a result, he was not picked up for A Team training privileges and will need to find funding to continue to take part.

The recent end of the World Cup season found Brad Wilson ranked fourth in the world and Bryon Wilson ranked 12th. Brad Wilson is the reigning National Duals champion and is No. 2 overall among U.S. men mogulists.

Both young men are accomplished artists Bryon on woodcarving, specializing in fish replicas, and Brad in painting, preferring watercolors.

Brad Wilson said, though, that the rigors and demands of international skiing competition at its highest level do not leave a lot of free time for their other pursuits.

“Except fly fishing,” he mentioned with a grin.

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