PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, WI (WKBT) - An Olympic athlete from our area is set to compete at Sochi in just a week.
Matt Antoine is a Prairie du Chien native, and he's facing off against the world's best in the Olympic skeleton competition. Skeleton is a sliding sport similar to luge, where athletes plunge headfirst down an ice tube.
Matt is just one of five athletes from the United States to compete in skeleton at Sochi this year. Residents from Prairie du Chien say they're thrilled to call Matt one of their own. But no one is prouder than his number one fan - his mom.
Watching her son compete in skeleton might be Mary Antoine's favorite thing to do. She's always cheering on Matt, whether it's from the side-lines or from her living room.
"Each year I try to go to one or two or his races, to be there in person," she says. "The last few years you can watch them online, so in some ways I've been able to watch [every race] one way or another."
This year, Mary will be watching from a front-row seat in Sochi.
"I've watched the Olympics for so many years, and I've always seen the moms, you know, down at the end cheering and stuff like that," she says. "And I get to be one of those moms this year."
For more than a decade, Mary has acted as her son's manager, promoter and mother for Matt as he chased his dream. During that time, she has become a skeleton connoisseur of sorts.
"After watching it for 11 years, you sort of do know the sport and their equipment, and what are good runs and what are not," Mary says.
Along with knowledge of the sport comes a little anxiety, born from the hope that Matt performs well each race. That anxiety will follow Mary to Sochi.
"I'm going to be a nervous wreck, I'll be honest," she says. "My family has found when they go to races with me to leave me alone, because I'm just really nervous and don't want to be involved in idle talk or anything like that, I've got to be focused on him."
And if Matt takes home the gold, Mary says she doesn't know how she'll respond. But regardless of the outcome, like every race before, Mary will be watching.
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