Prairie du Chien community stands behind Olympic athlete

PdC native slated to compete in Sochi 2014

Prairie du Chien community stands behind Olympic athlete

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, WI (WKBT) - Matt Antoine is a small-town guy who has gone big-time - a Prairie du Chien native, he's competing in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Matt will participate in the skeleton competition - that's a sliding sport similar to luge, where athletes slide down an ice tunnel headfirst. Matt's first run is Feb. 14.

If you were to describe how Prairie du Chien residents feel about Matt's success, "proud" would be an understatement. The community is thrilled that one of their own is representing not just the United States, but his hometown.

Back in the halls of his old stomping grounds, Matt's old teachers at Prairie du Chien High School are bursting with pride.

"It's a big deal, because we're a town of 5,000 people," said his old high school principal, Andy Banasik. "There's not a lot of students that leave here and actually go to the Olympics."

"When he left he told us, that's what he put in the yearbook, that that was going to be his goal - train and get ready for the skeleton in the Olympics. And look where he's at now."

Matt's about to compete on a world-wide stage thousands of miles away - but here in Prairie is where you'll find his most loyal fans.

"People will come in here and be like, 'Did you hear about that Matt kid who made it to the Olympics?'" said Matt's longtime friend, Bridget Nichols, who also manages a bar in downtown Prairie. "People will bring in articles and pass them around and show it, it's really cool to hear everybody talking about him."

"It's a small town person who's made it big in the world. it's not just big in the state or big in the united states it's big in the world," said Matt's high school English teacher, Marge Johnson. "It's a big deal, because it's one of our own."

Some say there's a lesson to be learned from Matt.

"I think it shows what we have here in the small town - you don't have to be from a big city to be successful," Banasik said. "The biggest quality you have is determination and what you want to go after, and go after it."

For those who've known him since the beginning, a victory in Sochi means so much more in Prairie du Chien.

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