Jay Meehan: Olympic wrap-up
Ryan Summerlin February 25, 2014
Once again, Park City is in a party mood! Go figure! There seems to be a grass-roots movement afoot to celebrate the huge success our local contingent of Olympians experienced at the recently completed Winter Games in Sochi. Talk of a street party with a parade is going viral, as they say.
Not that the powers-that-be up at City Hall haven’t had similar thoughts, it’s just that, at the moment I’m typing this, official word has yet to filter down to the foothills of Hebertown. No word from the folks at USSA as of yet either. One could probably assume that they’re on their way back from Sochi and partying amongst themselves.
With the U.S. alpine, Nordic, snowboarding, and freeskiing teams all headquartered here in town under the umbrella of the USSA, you have to think that something is in the works, however. It’s been proven over time that this town is not afraid to let its collective hair down.
Getting the local athletes all together in one space-time to demonstrate the town’s appreciation for all their hard work and ultimate success might well prove somewhat problematic, however. Some of the World Cup tours are continuing and, as far as the freeskiing bunch is concerned, when you configure the collective amplitude they achieved in Russia, they might not be coming down for quite some time.
Park City certainly did well medal-wise in Sochi. No doubt about that! In fact I saw somewhere that if Park City Mountain Resort was a country, they’d be tied for 14th place overall. Not bad for a 50-year-old ski hill in an old mining camp!
Not that the impending (at least on this page) celebration should exclude any other ski town or country with a predilection for revelry. The bigger the bash, the better! Also it shouldn’t restrict itself only to medal winners. The pioneering women’s ski jumping team should probably get a parade all its own.
Maybe we could even reunite that old gang who once stacked hay bales in front of The Forge Saloon so as to erect a ski jump on Main Street that would propel them over parked cars. Possibly the van with the smashed-out windshield could also be located and brought back for yet one more attempt at vehicular infamy.
My favorite story to come out of the recently-completed Sochi Olympic Winter Games, of course, is that of the Christensen family and young Joss’ gold medal in men’s slopestyle. I would characterize it as being surreal but even the stuff of dreams would have trouble inventing that scenario.
And with Sage Kotsenburg grabbing Team USA’s first gold medal of the Winter Games in snowboard slopestyle and Ted Ligety becoming the first alpine men’s team member to win two career gold medals, this one in giant slalom, the home-grown contingent truly shined.
Of course, the rest of us will also be taking bows, no matter how undeserving. I mean we’re the ones who made Park City the legendary party town it has become. We worked hard over many years both painting the town red and polishing bar-tops with foreheads. Not to mention coming together to celebrate most any great notion that came down the pike.
We need this party. The skiers, riders, and trekkers who have suffered through a season of less than epic snowfall need it. The locals who put up with the snarling traffic of the Sundance Film Festival need it. And those who just wish to somehow connect with the Olympic spirit need it.
Local bobsledder Steve Holcomb could bring both of the bronze medals he won in the 2-man and 4-man competitions. How ’bout that BMW 2-man sled? And how ’bout those "Bo-Dyn" 4-man sleds designed by NASCAR legend Geoff Bodine and now, I believe, in their fourth Winter Games.
We ought to be able to put those in the parade, whaddaya think? And maybe we could even talk NBC reporter Christen Cooper into putting her filet knife on display. I somehow knew I’d never get through this without going there. Thank God for Zen breathing techniques and large jars of Zantac.
The Winter Games, going back to Austrian Toni Sailer’s 1956 sweep of the Alpine events at Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, and continuing through Jean-Claude Killy’s similar domination at Grenoble, France, in 1968 and on to today, have always held a special place in my own personal wide world of sports.
I’m a sucker for the hype and associated storylines every time. I may be coming out of it, however. I did opt for "Downton Abbey" over the closing ceremonies last Sunday night.
Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and has been an observer, participant, and chronicler of the Park City and Wasatch County social scenes for more than 40 years.