Parkites head to Olympics |

Parkites head to Olympics

by Jen Watkins, Of the Record staff

Before the 2002 Winter Games, John and Nancy Rosen of Park City decided they wanted to volunteer for the Olympics – a decision that has changed their lives.

"We both got really hooked on it," John said. "Neither of us are athletes but we got started with the education and began taking exams. Now we are both internationally licensed to officiate races throughout the world."

John works as a consultant in health-care automation. Nancy works as an accountant. Both are semiretired, John said. They’ve been married for 32 years.

"The jury’s still out but we think it might stick," he joked.

Neither of them thought they would be involved in Olympic sports until they become volunteers 12 years ago. Now John is the president of the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation and their grandchildren, Anthony Espinoza and Samantha Carone of Park City, are luge athletes.

The couple began officiating for World Cup events and participated in the 2006 Winter Games in Italy. at the Utah Olympic Park they have worked every job on the track, and worked at a World Cup in Whistler.

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"It’s the fastest track in the world," Nancy said of Whistler.

This year, John will be a race official for skeleton, working at the start of the race.

"I’ll be helping to supervise and mentor the race officials that are there," he said. "For the last two years, I’ve been involved in helping to train the officials (in Whistler) in preparation for the Games. Because the track is new, they haven’t had a lot of opportunity to train their officials and gain experience there."

Nancy and her friend and fellow Parkite Sue Kapis will be coordinating the logistics for sled transportation, ensuring the sleds for both bobsled and skeleton are exactly where they need to be at the right time.

"It’s actually a complex job," Nancy said. "We are responsible for making sure that the sleds get checked in once they get to Whistler, and get to the start or the finish, wherever they need to be, on time."

Nancy said there are 30-50 sleds going through her area at one time and there will be six trucks transporting them.

"We’ll be in a race," she said. "I will be working at the finish so it’s my responsibility to get them back up (to the start) on time. Sue will be working at the start. It’s going to be difficult because there is so much media and they all want to interview the athletes but they have to get back up at a certain time or they’re going to miss their second run."