The Park Record editorial, February 20-23, 2010
February 20, 2010
On one of the Team USA’s most glorious days in history, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association Vice President of Communications Tom Kelly made a point of thanking Park City. Part of the credit for the skiers’ and snowboarders’ phenomenal performance this week in Vancouver, he said, is due to the community’s longtime support of USSA programs.
So step up to the podium, Parkites. This medal is for you.
Over the years, community support has come in many forms from early supporters who helped convince the U.S. Ski Team to move its headquarters from Colorado Springs to Park City to the city’s recent support of the new Center of Excellence in Round Valley.
Parkites have also turned out in droves to volunteer at a wide range of competitions including the city’s first World Cup races. They have shivered on the sidelines while marshalling fans, slipped slalom runs, housed visiting athletes, fed and doctored Olympic hopefuls and contributed both time and money to keep them fit and outfitted with the best equipment.
As a result, the faces on NBC’s Olympic coverage this week have been familiar ones and their victories and defeats have felt like our own. In fact, they are. When Lindsey Vonn’s skis chattered on the icy downhill, we winced, and when she won we were elated. When Shaun White admitted to a case of nerves, we got the jitters too but when he landed his Double McTwist 1260 we beamed.
On Wednesday, USSA celebrated its first-ever four-medal day and its first women’s gold medal in the downhill event. As of Friday afternoon, Day 8 of the 2010 Winter Games, Team USA had racked up 20 medals, 15 of them earned by USSA athletes. Even though there are still nine days to go, it is the highest medal count the USSA has ever received in one Olympics.
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The U.S. Ski and Snowboard team has come a long way from the days when America played second fiddle to the Europeans in almost every winter sport. Certainly the lion’s share of the credit belongs to those incredibly gutsy and determined athletes and their dedicated coaches and families. But as Kelly says Park City owns the moment too.
Keep your eyes on Vancouver. Team USAs athletes, including Bode Miller, Lindsey Vonn, and Park City native Ted Ligety probably have a few more surprises in store.