WSJ hosts gala evening, still need support
What better way to inspire Olympic dreams than to host an evening mixed with former Olympians and those aspiring to one day be a part of the Games? Saturday, Women ‘s Ski Jumping, USA (WSJ) hosted "A Night with Olympians-Past, Present, and Future" at the Log Haven Restaurant in Mill Creek Canyon. The evening of special Olympic guests included, Shannon Bahrke, Nikki Stone, Emily Cook. Olympians Jim Holland, Holly Flanders and U.S. women’s ski jumping head coach Casey Colby were also part of the evening that was intended to raise funds for women’s ski jumping programs in the U.S. As the only the only Olympic sport without a female component, the team is must generate funds for training, travel and accommodations. This year, the women have increased their competition schedule from 12 to 23 Continental Cup competitions and the fundraiser was primarily designed to help fund those traveling costs. The event was able to generate nearly $50,000 for the women’s programs, about the same amount raised at last year’s function. According to WSJ president DeeDee Corradini, the silent auction and the raffle generated the most money. "I was very pleased with the way it turned out," Corradini said. "Thank goodness they were so many silent auction items. It was a big hit." The raffle tickets were sold by young ski jumpers from the National Sports Foundation program at the Utah Olympic Park. The evening also included a live auction, featuring a number of special packages. With so many other fundraisers to compete with in the fall, Corradini was pleased with the 120-person turnout and money raised, but is also considering another event in the spring in Park City to help supplement the money needed to support this year’s competition schedule. Corradini was especially pleased with the initative of many of the attendees, some sponsors and some truly devoted to the women’s cause. Bill Johnson of Morgan Stanley in Park City, encouraged his friends to attend by having a "daddy/daughter" table where everyone brought their daughter as their escort to the event. All of the jumping athletes were in attendance as well, to help with the auction items and other duties throughout the evening. Another highlight of the evening was the video compiled by Colby. The short film included footage of the each of the athletes, various competitions and the girls flying through the air on the jumping hill. "I get goose bumps every time I watch it," Corradini said. Those young women work so hard. People don’t realize how hard they work. The evening was created on behalf of the hard work of parents and volunteers, party planner Jacque Riehl of Riehl Events and Log Haven, which supplied the dinner at cost and closed their restaurant for the evening. O.C. Tanner donated silver pendants with a ski jumper and Women’s Ski Jumping, USA inscribed on it. WSJ also recently received generous support from other sources. They announced a $10,000 grant from the George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation and a $10,000 from Zion’s Bank. Prudential Utah Real Estate is another generous sponsor of WSJ. To help with the traveling costs of the long competition season, Corradini said that WSJ is actively looking for donations of frequent flier miles for the coaches and athletes to use as they travel to locations in Europe and Japan. The women resume the Continental Cup competition mid January. The women are also anxiously waiting to hear the results of the International Ski Federation (FIS) Council, which met this week to review proposals, including one centered around women’s ski jumping events being included in the World Championships and the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada.
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