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This girl doesn't give up

January 23, 2014 - Chris Knight
I’ve been playing phone and Facebook tag with Saranac Lake’s Annelies Cook, who’s going to her first Olympics this year, for close to a week.

She’s still in Antholz, Italy, the site of the most recent biathlon World Cup, and the Internet there is sketchy. She’s been calling me via Skype, the cheapest and sometimes easiest way for many of these world-trekking athletes to communicate, but the Internet apparently only works at certain times of the day where she is.

It’s 4 p.m. Tuesday. My son Ethan just got off the bus. We’re heading to Plattsburgh to run some errands that have to get done before I leave for Sochi Feb. 3. We pull out of the driveway, and my cellphone rings. It’s Annelies, Skype-calling from Italy.

I pull a quick U-turn and rush back to the house, open up the laptop and start throwing questions at her. About three questions in, I lose her. She calls back. Two minutes later, the connection cuts out again. She calls back again. Lather, rinse and repeat this cycle three or four more times, and we’re finally done. I thank her profusely for repeatedly calling me back. I can only imagine this is something she deals with on a regular basis while trying to stay in touch with family and friends back home.

The whole episode reminded me of a story her father, Dr. George Cook, shared in an email earlier in the day.

“Annelies had a rifle stolen that had been in the hands of the (U.S. Transportation Security Administration),” he wrote. “It was checked in and screened as baggage with all the appropriate documents and just disappeared. She was young at the time, probably just out of high school, and she filled page after page of phone numbers and contact information spanning various way points in the USA that her rifle may have ended up at.

“She never got the rifle back,” Dr. Cook continues, “but I would’ve given her at least three college credits with a grade of A-plus for all the effort that she put into trying to find that rifle.”

Look for a profile of Annelies Cook in the Enterprise in the next week.


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Annelies Cook of Saranac Lake is headed to her first Olympics.