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Daily Republic Q&A: Margallo working with Olympians through US Ski and Snowboarding Association

Mitchell native Chris Margallo, a physical therapist now living in New York City, has worked with a number of United States Olympians who will be competing in Sochi, Russia over the next two weeks.

Margallo, a graduate of Columbia University and the University of Minnesota, moved to New York City in 2003 and owns a private practice with his wife, Ruxandra, whom he married two years ago. Margallo’s practice, where he treats a number of athletes privately, is called Progressive Movement Physical Therapy.

Margallo is on a rotation to work with the U.S. ski and snowboard teams. He is a board certified sports physical therapist and is a part of the medical pool for the United States Ski and Snowboard Association.

Margallo recently discussed his involvement with professional athletes in a phone interview with The Daily Republic. Here are some excerpts from the interview:

Q: How many Oympians have you worked with who are heading to Sochi for the Olympic games?

A: Actually quite a few of them. I would say there are probably about 10-15 between the coaches and athletes that I have worked with.

Q: What is your involvement with U.S. olympians?

A: There are a select few of us who are on the rotational physical therapy team for the U.S. ski and snowboard teams. They select us to travel with the team. Generally, I travel with the U.S. freestyle aerial team and the ski team. I also travel with the U.S. snowboarder cross team and the halfpipe team.

Q: How did you become involved with the U.S. ski and snowboard teams? A: When I was in PT school I did a clinical in Los Angeles where I got to work with a number of professional athletes. I did a second one in Vail, Colo., where I got set up with the ski and snowboard teams.

Q: Is Shaun White (a gold-medal winning U.S. snowboarder) one of the athletes you have had the opportunity to work with? What’s he like to work with? A: I have worked with Shaun. Shaun is a cool guy to work with. Just like all the athletes that I have worked with, he is so driven to be at his best and to be at that top level. I’ve worked with a lot of professional athletes, and these skiers and snowboarders work just as hard as the basketball and football players.

Q: Was there an opportunity for you to go to Sochi with the team for the games?

A: Sochi was not on the table at all. I will be going to the Junior World Championships in Italy instead, which I’m happy about. I didn’t really want to go to Sochi for the Olympics this year. Maybe in the future, but not this year.

I think it will be safe over there, despite what we have heard. There are a lot of people who are hesitant to go because of what they have heard, but I think the spirit of the games will prevail. What I have heard from the guys who are over there is that it’s going to be just like the Olympics should be with all of the great competition.

Q: What is something that is noticeably different about working with these Olympians compared to, say, a professional basketball or football player?

A: The thing that really stands out is how appreciative they are for everything, especially the support they receive from their fan bases. A lot of conversations that we have is how blessed they feel to be representing the United States.

These guys are a lot more laid back, but at the same time, they are so driven. Some athletes, when you meet them they are a little standoffish, but you meet these skiers and snowboarders and it’s like they are your neighbor.

Q: What are some of the most exciting places you have be able to go to with the team?

A: I have spent most of my time in Europe for the World Cup events. Ones that really stand out are Austria and Belarus.