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2010 Winter Olympics: Ted Ligety looking to help pal score date with Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift
Damian Dovarganes, Associated Press

WHISTLER, British Columbia — In an appearance on MTV, alpine skier Ted Ligety did what any good wingman would do in helping his buddy work up the nerve to ask out his dream girl.

Now if only Taylor Swift accepts first-time Olympian Will Brandenburg's offer of dinner and a movie.

"I said, 'She probably has a lot cooler things to do, but I'd like to bring it back to its (Valentine's Day) roots,' " said the 21-year-old Spokane, Wash., resident.

He'd even escort the country music superstar to her own movie, "Valentine's Day," which opened this weekend.

Ligety and Brandenburg have been friends since the younger skier made the U.S. Ski Team.

"You get stuck with each other a lot," Brandenburg said. "Ted and I are really good friends."

And as such, Ligety likes to rib Brandenburg about his affection for Swift's music.

"I have one of her albums," Brandenburg said. "They (guys on the ski team) like to give me a hard time about that and I said, 'She's really cool. She's like the girl next door.' They gave me even more (grief) about that."

Even in the face of heckling, Brandenburg remains a devoted Swift fan.

So when Ligety and Brandenburg were getting ready to tape an appearance on MTV with Sway (Calloway) at Whistler Saturday, Ligety suggested the young skier seize the moment.

"He said, 'It's the only chance you're going to get,' " Brandenburg said. "And I said, 'Whatever, I'm not doing it.' "

Then Ligety brought it up during the show.

When Sway asked Brandenburg what kind of music he favored, he named Stars and Kings of Leon.

Ligety broke in with, "Really? Because I heard you were a big Taylor Swift fan?"

Brandenburg said he had to "just kind of wing it."

He then invited Swift, who was just named Entertainer of the Year at the Country Music Awards, to a traditional Valentine's Day date — dinner and a movie.

"I've had a crush on her for a little while, so I thought I'd give it a shot and see what happens," said Brandenburg, who competes in the super combined on Tuesday. "I'm a straight shooter, so I just went at it and asked her out. I'm a simple guy, so a nice little dinner and a movie, and if she wants to learn how to ski, I'll take her skiing."

While waiting for Swift to respond, Brandenburg spent his Valentine's Day training and cheering on the U.S. men in nordic combined. He is enjoying every aspect of his first Olympic experience, even the weather delays.

"We're just trying to keep it light," he said. "We did train this morning (Sunday), and we're going to nordic combined to cheer on the U.S. men."

Training has been going well and he's excited for his first Olympic competition.

"It's been a lot of fun," he said. "Opening ceremonies was really cool. It still feels just like a ski race, a ski race you get asked a lot of questions about. But when you get up on the hill, everything is exactly the same," he said.

Brandenburg wasn't the only athlete looking to celebrate Valentine's Day at the Olympics. Snowboard athletes Elena Hight (South Lake Tahoe, Calif.) and Greg Bretz (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) appeared on the "Today" show on Feb. 13 discussing their relationship and the day devoted to love.

"The best thing about Greg is that he finds joy in all the small things," said Hight. They discussed their relationship and how supporting each other helps them do better individually. They also said they'll be finding a way to celebrate the day, despite the pressures of competing at the Olympics.

"I might have something special up my sleeve," said Bretz.

Olympic volunteers said they received chocolates in recognition of the holiday.

Still, some decided to put love on the back burner, just for a few days.

"I have to take Valentine's Day off this year because I have to focus on my race the next day," said snowboard cross athlete Nate Holland, Squaw Valley, Calif. He noted that his girlfriend will attend his competition next week, and then he added, "The Olympics is once every four years, but love is forever."

e-mail: adonaldson@desnews.com