Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Mon, February 10 2014 at 4:08 PM, Updated: Mon, February 10 2014 at 7:36 PM
Klamath Falls, Ore. -- Klamath Union High School graduate Laurenne Ross is a member of the U.S. Olympic Ski Team competing in Sochi.
Robert Ross says his daughter Laurenne was fearless on the slopes, even as a toddler...
"I was holding her between my legs at 2 on her skis, and she said, 'Let go.' And I let go, and she proceeded to go straight down the hill - outpacing me, skiing fast behind her."
Ross says Laurenne then crashed, cut her lip, and was crying...
"Cleaned her up, got her up, went another hundred yards, and she said 'Let me go'. So it was like, 'Hmm... this is not what most 2 year olds would do."
That stubborn, fearless streak helped Ross excel at gymnastics and track during her school years in Klamath Falls.
"And I think we kind of knew that she was a good athlete from a very early age." Adds Robert Ross.
Robert Ross is a practicing physician...but he's also a skier.
Even when Laurenne was seriously injured in a horrific ski crash back in 2011, he didn't try to stop her from skiing...
"Yeah, absolutely. And we've talked about it - but she's just so passionate about the sport, I could see - it's exactly what I would do."
Dr. Ross and his family are now in Sochi watching Laurenne live our her Olympic dream...
"I think she just needs to let it rip. And if she got top 10, that would just be awesome."
And Laurenne will always be golden in her father's eyes.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.
Lyle's job history is quite colorful. He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.
Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience. "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".
When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.