Louie Vito will be blogging from the Winter Olympics in Vancouver for PEOPLE. Today, the snowboarder – and Dancing With the Stars competitor – reflects on his dancing days and talks about his new Olympic digs. Check back for more updates as Vito prepares for his competition Wednesday.
The thing is, Dancing With the Stars is a lot more mainstream than (DWTS champ) Apolo Ohno‘s sport is and even more so than snowboarding, but it doesn’t really bother me at all. Any kind of thing like that is a positive look for me! I have people here in Canada who even tell me that they voted for me. It’s great.
Doing Dancing has helped me with pressure. Dancing With the Stars was pressure like I’ve never dealt with before. Every week you’re kind of going out there wearing clothes you’d never even really wear on Halloween, and even more so you’re doing something you don’t have a lot of confidence in every week in front of a live audience with 22 million people. In snowboarding, I’m wearing what I want to wear, doing what I know I’m good at and what I know the judges want to see and it’s just a lot more relaxing in that sense.
We moved out of the Olympic Village and into the Halfpipe House. We got a house that is really nice; we’ve got a cook that’s awesome, two coaches, a relaxer, two physical therapists, Greg [Bretz], Elena [Hight], [Scotty] Lago, Gretchen [Bleiler], and Kelly [Clark]. It’s nice to be able to wake up in the morning and go chill on a couch and kind of do whatever rather than always walking down to the Olympic Village, where there are thousands of people.
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When you’re in the Village, though, everyone’s wearing their team getup and you’re wearing yours, and it’s cool to represent the country. Whereas I would never wear a Team USA snowboard jacket on a normal day, when you are in the Village and all of the other countries are wearing theirs, and you’re with your homies from the USA, it definitely gives you a sense of pride. That’s what’s cool with the whole Team USA thing. Snowboarding is an individual sport but being in the Olympics gives you a sense of camaraderie with the fact that the rest of the world is looking at the medal count rather than the individual result.
It is pretty funny going into the Village and having people taking photos of you when you re like, they’re the best in their sport, too! It s part of this great experience.