As Governor Gary Herbert welcomed Utah's Olympians home Tuesday night, it rekindled memories of a remarkable season and the role Utah played in Sochi success. It was an Olympics to make Park City proud. In this final Behind the Gold column for the Olympic season, let's take a look back at 10 memorable Park City Olympic moments.
10. Thousands turned out in a wet spring blizzard to walk down Park City's Historic Main Street, hand-in-hand with hometown Olympic heroes for sure a few future 2022 or 2026 Olympic medalists were in the crowd!
9. Utah Olympic Park, Soldier Hollow, Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain Resort played roles in the selection and announcement of the 2014 Olympic Team.
8. All of Park City felt the pain in August as hometown hero Sarah Hendrickson suffered a catastrophic knee injury training in Germany. Hendrickson defied the odds with a relentless rehabilitation plan to make the historic team along with teammates Jessica Jerome and Lindsey Van. While Team USA missed the medals, the debut of women's ski jumping was highly successful.
7. Record crowds turn out in Park City for the Olympic Trials for ski sumping and Nordic combined during the Christmas/New Year's holiday week in Park City, with Jessica Jerome earning the historic first Olympic spot for women and Nordic combined star Todd Lodwick earning a spot on his sixth Olympic team.
6. Utah native Noelle Pikus-Pace set a new track record with her December win at the Utah Olympic Park, going on to Sochi to win bronze in skeleton.
5. Park City's internationally acclaimed National Ability Center played a role in training 18 members of the Paralympic Team, led by medalists Danelle Umstead (bronze, alpine super combined), Keith Gabel (bronze snowboardcross) and Greg Shaw (gold sled hockey).
3. A dozen years after watching the men's halfpipe snowboarding sweep in his hometown of Park City, Sage Kotsenburg threw down a stylish run that caught the fancy of judges, winning the first gold medal of the Games in the slopestyle snowboarding debut.
2. A sweep in the Park City World Cup in December set bobsledder Steve Holcomb into a record breaking season, becoming the most decorated Olympic bobsledder in U.S. history with two bronze in Sochi, giving him three career medals.
1. Park City native Ted Ligety went in as the favorite and came out the Olympic giant slalom champion, going on to win the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup GS title in storybook fashion on the final day of the season.
It was a memorable Olympic season, bringing pride to all of us here in Park City. I've enjoyed the opportunity to share the behind the scenes stories of athletic success with Behind the Gold in The Park Record. We'll take a summer break and be back with more beginning this fall, including a Behind the Gold look into each of the key Team USA medal stories from Sochi.
See you this fall!
One of the most experienced communications professionals in skiing, Tom Kelly is a veteran of eight Olympics and serves as vice president, Communications, for the Park City-based U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. A Wisconsin native, he and his wife Carole Duh have lived in Park City since 1988 when he's not traveling the world with the team.