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Auburn's Kukors returns to the Olympic stage in Sochi
Retired Olympic swimmer Ariana Kukors returns to the Olympic stage Friday.
Rather than competing, however, Kukors – an Auburn native who swam in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and holds the world record in the 200-meter individual medley – will attend the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia as part of the KING-5 news coverage team.
"I'm so excited to be a part of that team. I have my yellow jacket and everything," she said.
Kukors, who hung up her swim cap last year, spends her time nowadays inspiring others to lead active, healthy lives as the director of health inspiration with the LifeWise Health plans of Washington.
"I've made several appearances on KING-5 and 'New Day Northwest', and I've built a relationship with them through that," she said. "This will allow me to relive my experiences at the Olympics. I'm so excited."
To prepare for covering the Winter Olympics, Kukors spent the past week getting a taste of several events, including curling at the Granite Curling Club in Seattle and figure skating and ice hockey at the Olympic View Arena in Mountlake Terrace.
"I got to try out curling, which was so much fun," she said. "It was actually such a rush. I had a great time doing it. ... I did hockey and figure skating. I was the most nervous about putting on skates and going on the ice for the first time. But we had some amazing instructors. And I was schooled by a 7- and a 10-year-old in hockey. It was awesome."
Once the Olympics get under way, after the Friday opening ceremony, Kukors will be featured daily during KING-5's morning newscast. She also will post stories on LifeWise's website, www.activelynorthwest.com, and on Twitter at @ArianaKukors.
"I'm so overwhelmed to be able to do this," she said. "I'm surrounded by such amazing people. I love the opportunity for engagement with people and there are so many ways to talk with them, so many platforms."
In addition to her work with LifeWise, Kukors has teamed up with her friend and Olympic teammate, Rebecca Soni – who retired from competitive swimming this past week – in The Atlas Ventures.
"It's like the dream clinics that I do," Kukors said. "Reb and I teamed up and wanted to make it a kid thing and a people thing and not just a swim thing. We learned so much through our careers, so many things that we wished we had know back when we started. We want to share those. And she's (Soni) an incredible person, we're on the same wavelength with our personalities."
The Atlas Ventures will kick off this spring when Soni and Kukors launch "Practice Crashers" and "crash" unsuspecting swim teams at practice.
They also will lead Peak Performance Workshops to teach athletes from all sports tools that go beyond physical training.