Out of this world day for Riddle after Shatner tweet

Canadian Olympic silver medallist, Mike Riddle during a press conference on Wednesday, February 19,...

Canadian Olympic silver medallist, Mike Riddle during a press conference on Wednesday, February 19, 2014. Riddle won silver yesterday in the freestyle skiing halfpipe event at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. (Al Charest/QMI Agency)

STEVE BUFFERY, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 8:51 AM ET

If freestyle skier Mike Riddle didn't know who the best Captain of the Starship Enterprise was before, he certainly knows now.

Not long after nailing a silver medal in the men's ski halfpipe on Tuesday night, Riddle received a tweet from the original Captain Kirk.

"I got a tweet from William Shatner saying, 'Hey great work out there, congrats on the medal, Bill.' I'm like 'Dude, no way that's the real William Shatner," said Riddle, a native of Sherwood Park, Alta., "So I click on it and it's a verified account. That's pretty cool. I don't know him personally, but he's a Canadian and probably just a fan of Olympics."

At 27, Riddle likely did not grow up watching the original Star Trek series with Shatner as Kirk, but there's no doubt in his mind (if there ever was doubt before) who the all-time best Captain of the Enterprise is.

"Of course (Shatner) is," said Riddle, with a laugh. "He's the only one tweeting at me."

Growing up in Edmonton, Riddle started alpine skiing at a young age, but it was inevitable that he would switch over the freestyle skiing. His dad, Bob, an Edmonton lawyer, was one of the original ski bums in the 1970s, competing in a weekly series of freestyle competitions in Vail, Colorado.

"My dad was on a road trip in States, planning to go to Aspen and he ended up stopping in a parking lot in Vail and never left," said Riddle. "He was there for two years in an Airstream trailer on the '70s, which was kind of the Hot Dog area of skiing.

"He was kind of ski bumming it," added Riddle, whose entire family, dad Bob, mom Debbie, brother John, sister Maddy and girlfriend Bobbie Brook were in Krasnaya Polyana to watch his silver-medal performance. "I'm sure there was the odd job here and there, but it was definitely a ski-bum life living in the trailer on the parking lot. He's told me a couple of stories of doing all the Freestyle Friday competitions, Midas Muffler Tour -- just making skiing sound awesome. And then the movie Hot Dog came out."

Hot Dog ... The Movie, which was released in 1984, took freestyle skiing to another level. There's an interesting aside to the film in relation to Riddle's Olympic silver medal. Sitting in the seats inside the Chekhov Room in the Main Media Centre during Riddle's post-medal media conference on Wednesday, was head of the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association, Peter Judge.


CHECK OUT THE 'HOT DOG' TRAILER


Like Riddle's dad, Judge, a former world champion, was one of the pioneers of freestyle skiing and was actually a stunt double for one of the main characters in Hot Dog ... The Movie. Another one of the stunt skiers in the film, Frank Beddor, was best man at Judge's first wedding and later became a big-time Hollywood producer for such films as There's Something About Mary.

Having his family in Sochi was a bonus for Riddle, but his moment was bittersweet. One of his good friends and certainly his main inspiration as an athlete was Sarah Burke, the Canadian freestyle ski pioneer who successfully lobbied the IOC to have halfpipe including in the 2014 Olympics.

"She should be here and she would have been the gold-medal favourite for Canada," said Riddle. "It's hard not having her here but she would have wanted us to do the best we can. There's been a lot of smiles thinking about her this week."

Burke died during a training run in Park City, Utah in 2012.

As for his silver-medal performance, Riddle linked back to back double quark 12's for the first time, which helped him land on the podium under blizzard-like conditions at the Freestyle Center at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.

The gold was won by David Wise of the U.S. Kevin Rolland of France was third. Noah Bowman of Calgary was fifth.

steve.buffery@sunmedia.ca

twitter @beezersun


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