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The Winter Olympics is a family affair for some local skiers

Bristol Mountain
Bristol Mountain
Bristol Mountain

The Winter Olympics in Beijing this week will be closely watched by a lot of people, especially the family of one of the skiers who is a Pittsford native.

For Chris Lillis this is the culmination of something he’s been working on for years, competing in a skiing event in the Olympics.

He would have been in the Olympics four years ago in South Korea, but a knee injury prevented that.

But now, his father, Bernie Lillis, says his son is thrilled to be in China, even with the tight COVID restrictions, which prevented the family from going to watch him in person.

“I watched during opening ceremonies, and the camera actually panned on him at one point, and just the sheer joy that he was having, it was almost like he was taking it all in,” said Lillis. “It just really made me feel good for him that he’s getting an experience he’s dreamed about his entire life.”

Bernie Lillis said he is going to be nervous for his son, but is confident in Chris’s abilities.

“When he’s jumping, the nerves will really be around, I hope he does his best to his ability. If he does that, I think he walks away happy, and if he does the best to his ability he could walk away with a medal,” said Lillis.

Chris Lillis will be competing early Thursday morning in the mixed team aerials event, and then next week in the men’s aerials. He follows his brother Jon, who competed in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Both started their training as kids at Bristol Mountain in Ontario County.

Steve Fuller is vice president at Bristol Mountain, and he said having the Lillis family involved in the Olympics, with their ties to the local ski resort, is a source of pride for Bristol and the entire community.

“We couldn’t be more happier and couldn’t be more proud,” said Fuller. “Bristol Mountain being kind of the local hill in Rochester, we really pack a big punch nationally and international, which is pretty neat and all of Rochester should really be proud of the athletes that come out of this area.”

Fuller notes that Chris Lillis will be back at Bristol in March, competing in a U.S. national event.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.