U.P. Olympian to visit Finlandia

HANCOCK – Upper Peninsula native and Olympian Nick Baumgartner, fresh from the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, is coming to the Copper Country this week.

Baumgartner, of Iron River, will speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Finlandia University’s Paavo Nurmi Gym.

The event is open to the public, and all ages are welcome to meet the U.P.’s very own Olympian.

Baumgartner is a two-time Olympic snowboard cross competitor and has won both gold and silver medals in the X Games. Baumgartner will be speaking about his recent Olympic experience as well as his experience at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, the X Games and other competitive experiences.

There will also be time for questions and answers, as well as for autographs and opportunities for photographs.

While not a contender for a medal in this year’s Sochi Olympics, the 32-year-old Baumgartner placed fourth of five in the first heat of snowboard cross on a rainy day Tuesday at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.

As a former NMU football player, and an All-American and All-state high school athlete at West Iron County High School in Iron River, Baumgartner connected with former high school wrestling coach, Soren Schmidt, now the campus pastor at Finlandia.

The two set up Wednesday’s visit to Hancock before Baumgartner sets out again to train for his other passion, off-road truck racing.

Schmidt welcomes all to meet Baumgartner, and to learn more about how a kid from the Upper Peninsula can make it to the Olympics.