All the great winter athletes in the world will be gathering for the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi Russia in a few weeks, including for the first time ever, women ski jumpers! It has been 8 years since Charlie Gibson started the ABC News story leading into Torino, calling out that "well, not all" will be in Torino and breaking the story in a big way to the world about the exclusion of the women ski jumpers from the Olympics. The Olympic dreams of many athletes with connections to Park City will soon be realized including the historic first appearance on an Olympic program of women's ski jumping. Just as this becomes one more victory in the fight for equality of women in sport, it also becomes a victory for many people in Park City who have supported these pioneering athletes in their quest to become Olympians.
On this journey there have been a host of unsung people in Park City and around the world who merit recognition for what they have done to be a part of the historic inclusion of women ski jumpers in the Olympic. Thank you to all! A few examples:
Michael Lynch of VISA is the corporate hero of the effort. With the early support of the National Sports Foundation learn to ski jump programs and through the extensive sponsorship of the US Women Ski Jumpers these last eight years.
Jamie Clyde, a New Yor and Utah photographer who hosted an event that provided critical funding after Vancouver.
Ross Clark at Davis LLP led the legal battle and keeping the pressure on the IOC to make women's ski jumping part of the Games.
There are of course many others not named, but please celebrate the history and know that it took a tremendous amount of volunteer effort by many, many people in our community for Sochi to happen! Today, there is an established foundation with board members and paid staff that manages the team, the coaches and a host of things needed to support the athletes. The USSA, the USOC and other commercial sponsors are now behind the effort. That's all great and it shows the growth and evolution of the sport!
There are many facets to the history of the journey, some known, but many unknown or forgotten. All involved helped made a difference. All gave of their time, talent and treasure and are as much a part of this history as the athletes, the coaches, the parents.
Many others are not mentioned; merchants and restaurants who donated items to the myriad of fundrasiers, those who attended events, be they fundraisers or competitions to cheer the athletes --- all of Park City should feel a sense of pride, of playing a major role in the history of yet another Olympiad. The epic center of this movement came from Park City, and it took many people in our community to make the difference
February 11, 2014 women will ski jump at the RusSki Gorki Olympic venue. How amazing is that! There will be Olympic medals awarded to three athletes. In reality all the athletes who participate in Sochi are winners! They are Olympians. All the little girls in the world are winners also, because dreams, and if they have a dream of being a Olympic ski jumper, are now possible .and that is a legacy to the people of Park City and people around the world who supported these athletes and effort over the years. Athletes, good luck, enjoy, have the time of your lives with your Olympic experience. Live your dreams! When our community rallies together dreams do come true!