Hometown: Aspen, CO
Birthplace: Aspen, CO
Club: Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation
School: Middlebury College
Equipment: Fischer, Swix, Rudy Project
Top Results: 2 time U.S. Champion; 9 time Junior National Champion; 3 time NCAA All-American
A talent at the junior and collegiate level, this year 22 year old Simeon “Simi” Hamilton caught the eye of national team coaches with his impressive sprint speed. This season he won four sprint qualification races at SuperTour, NorAm, and US National events. He then traveled to Germany for the U23 Championships where he lead the sprint qualifier by over one second. He was ranked 11th on the USSA points list coming into the Olympic selection period, and when one extra spot was given to the U.S. at the end of January, Hamilton was chosen for the team.
Hamilton was a Junior National Champion nine times, and went on to ski collegiately for Middlebury, where he was an All-American three times.
Hamilton graduated in 2009 with a degree in Geology and officially joined the Olympic Development team at the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation(SVSEF) in Idaho, a program he had previously trained with during summers between college.
Who were the Nordic athletes you looked up to as you were growing up? Is there anyone on the World Cup now who’s sprint style and technique you’ve tried to learn from?
I looked up to a lot of athletes from a lot of different sports. I guess I liked watching Alsgaard skate the most because he was so long and powerful and I always liked watching Teichmann classic because he never looked like he was working that hard but you knew he was crushing it. I sat with him on the bus today, so that was pretty cool. Present day, I think that Newell is my favorite skater to watch because it seems like everything is so deliberate and there is no wasted energy.
When did you first enter a sprint race?
I think the first sprint I ever raced was in Summit County, CO at Tiger Run. I was a J3 and sprinting was a brand new concept. I think all of us skied the qualifier like we had 4 more km to ski because we didn’t have the slightest idea what sprint pace meant.
When did you first do well in a sprint race?
I think my first really successful sprint was when I was a 2nd year J2. It was in Aspen, and I ended up making a move on the flats about 400 meters before the finish of the A final. It was great to tap into that kind of speed in front of a home crowd, especially since there were a ton of cute girls from our high school watching.
Favorite place to ski? Favorite race venue/course?
Oh boy, that’s an unfair question. How about top 5, in no particular order: 1) The Aspen, CO trail system, obviously 2) Oak Hill, Hanover, NH 2) Frisco, CO 3) WC trails Otepaa, Estonia 4) Bread Loaf, Ripton, VT 5) Trapps, Stowe, VT
If you weren’t a CC ski racer, what sport do you think you would have been competitive at?
Probably a mountain bike racer. But more realistically I would probably be a climbing bum if I didn’t ski race. I also like to think I would have made a good surfer. Maybe in another life.
What sport would you like to be good at, but just aren’t?
Tennis. I’m absolutely terrible, but that looks like a fun and hard sport.
What are some of your interests outside of skiing?
I love to back country ski. I also really like climbing and try to get out in the off season as much as possible. I used to kayak a ton but really haven’t had much time to do that in the last few years. I would like to say that I read a lot, but that would be a bit of a lie. I guess I read enough in College to last me my whole life.
If you had some tips for college students who are trying to get an education and become competitive ski racers at the same time, what would they be?
If you haven’t gone to college and are having a difficult time deciding whether you want to pursue skiing right away after high school or take four years to pursue your education, talk to your coach! Your coach should know you well enough to offer valuable insight. In reference to the whole college vs. non-college debate, I think it totally depends on the type of person you are. For me, going to college was the right thing to do. Now that I have that chapter of my life closed, I’m looking forward to focusing my energy on my training and racing. For those that are already in college, know that you are at no disadvantage compared to those that chose not to go to college. Keep things fun, find time to train hard during the day, but also get a lot of rest. That is key. There’s no reason that you can’t balance racing, studying, and resting.
What are your long-term goals in this sport?
I would like to win a medal in Sochi in 2014, a world championship medal, a distance world cup, and a sprint world cup. But my ultimate goal is to keep having fun while pursuing those goals. If it isn’t fun, it’s not worth doing.
What would you like to do with your degree?
I have a degree in Geology from Middlebury, and I think that I eventually want to go to grad school. I don’t really want to work for an oil company, unless it’s doing something environmentally sensible. I think that maybe working for USGS would be pretty cool someday.
What is a question you would like to answer but no one asks? (And what is the answer. . .)
Q: In your opinion, who is the best rapper of all time?
A: Biggie, hands down, come on.