Local Olympic families head to South Korea for winter games

Local Olympic families head to South Korea for winter games (WHAM Photo)

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - The opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics is one week away.

Several athletes from the Rochester area are traveling to South Korea to compete, including freestyle skiing champion, Jonathon Lillis of Rochester.

"Their ultimate dream was to all compete in the 2022 Olympics together," said father Bernie Lillis, describing the aspirations of his three sons Jonathon, Christopher and Michael.

"When we lost Michael in October, it was devastating," Bernie Lillis adds.

Michael "Mikey" Lillis passed away in his sleep in October 2017. The cause of his death is still unknown. Similar to his older brothers, Mikey was a standout freestyle skier and an Olympic hopeful.

"He'll never leave our heart," said mom Jamie Lillis.

The Lillis family wears glass necklaces infused with Mikey's ashes. Mikey's big brother, Jonathon, will be wearing the same as he prepares to ski for the U.S. Olympic ski team in South Korea.

"Everything that he did was for his brother Michael," Bernie Lillis said, as the family prepares to leave Rochester for South Korea in two weeks.

Lorraine and Buzz Schild leave in two days. Inside their home, you can tell by Lorraine's Olympic nails and outfit, that they are parents of an Olympian. Their daughter, Morgan, is on the women's freestyle ski team.

"The big challenge is trying to use one suitcase since we're going to be using a lot of public transportation," Lorraine Schild said. "In 2015, she went to the junior world championships in Italy and tore her ACL on a training run. That was devastating. We've been in the midst of all of this. We've been supportive of her and reassuring her that she's already made it. An Olympian."

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