Park City, more than almost anywhere else in the United States, will be watching with pride over the next two weeks as the Winter Olympics are staged in Sochi, Russia.
Many Americans are, understandably, worried about the threat of terrorism at the Games and some might have been put off by the pre-Olympic coverage that focused on whether the host was ready for Friday's opening ceremonies.
But in Park City, now that the competitions are underway, proud families, friends, neighbors, teachers and coworkers will be rooting for the hometown Olympians. There are ski racers, freestylists and slopestyle athletes who grew up in Park City or spent considerable time training here. Same goes for ski jumpers. Bobsled, luge and skeleton racers live here or pass through regularly as well, as do speedskaters.
Park City is, in fact, one of the country's Winter Olympic breeding grounds. The success of athletes with deep ties to the area verges on warranting a 'Park City' column in the medal count, between Paraguay and Peru.
The pride should be shared throughout the community. The winter sports infrastructure here facilities like the Utah Olympic Park and activities like any number of learn-to programs are extraordinary. Someone growing up in the Park City area has access to some of the best winter sports has to offer. From a young age, through the high school years and beyond, there are opportunities to excel on the snow or on the ice.
It is especially encouraging that, 12 years after the Park City area played host to many of the competitions during the 2002 Winter Olympics, the facilities and other infrastructure remains intact. There is always the danger in a post-Olympic era of that not happening, leaving a community with little to show for a past Games.
After the successful Games in 2002, many in the state expected that Utah would pursue another Olympics someday. The next Olympic era might be upon us within just a few years, when a bid could be launched for the Games again. There would be support in the Park City area for a future bid for an Olympics, we suspect, but it is too early to discuss the details.
For the next two weeks, though, Parkites should be proud as they watch the feats in Sochi, even without that 'Park City' column in the medal count.