Lawmakers to launch down UOP trackAdia Waldburger
March 18, 2006
Utah lawmakers are about to engage in a slippery activity.
As part of the annual Utah Skeleton and Bobsled Association (USBA) Friends and Family End of the Season Party, various government dignitaries, including Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, Salt Lake Mayor Rocky Anderson, Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon, Park City Mayor Dana Williams and Summit County Commissioner Sally Elliott will take a ride down the 2002 Olympic skeleton track at the Utah Olympic Park.
According to USBA vice-president Bob Springmeyer, the idea to invite the various officials had been tossed around for a couple years, but this was the first time the club did anything about it. The response was overwhelming. Even with busy and conflicting schedules, all Springmeyer had to do to secure the appearance of all of the officials was send an email and they all responded, "yes."
"I think it’s a direct result of the Olympics," Springmeyer said. "Frankly I think a lot of people feel like they want to do it again."
It was the Olympic sprit that originally drove the USBA to send out the invitations. Springmeyer said that the entire event is a celebration of preparing for Vancouver 2010 Olympics. On hand will be 2005 World Cup Champion Noelle Pikus-Pace, Olympian Zach Lund, and 2005 Europa Cup Champion Chris Hedquist as well as Parkites Felicia and Brady Canfield who have competed on both the Europa and America’s Cup tours. This will also be an opportunity for the dignitaries to see how talented some of the up-and-coming sliders are, many of whom could qualify for the Vancouver Games. Springmeyer also wants to show off the quality of the track, the greater possibilities for recreational and competitive sliding and the possibility of hosting another Olympic Games sometime in the future.
"It’s a bit of an investment in the future," Springmeyer explained. "They can say they did that and get to see these athletes."
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The day will start out with a small party with club members, their families and government officials. Then the group will head to the track for a briefing on technique and safety. The various dignitaries will then partner up with the elite athletes and head to the start. The sliding will take place from the junior start, which is lower in altitude and ideal for beginners. Once all of the elected officials are finished the club athletes and their families will head down the track.
Springmeyer says that only two people have ever been injured at the season-ending party, and both were minor, so he is confident that the lawmakers will emerge at the finish dock unscathed.
The Friends and Family Day was originally created by the USBA to allow parents to see what their young athletes are doing, experience the thrill ride for themselves, as well as expose younger siblings to the competitive side of the support. Springmeyer hopes that the addition of the officials will only add to the excitement of the day, and put a greater emphasis on the facility and what a gift it is to the greater community.
"We’re extraordinarily lucky," Springmeyer said. "It’s here and it’s available to us."
The sliding will begin at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 18 at the UOP track. For more information on USBA, please visit http://www.UTAHICE.org .