Your pals, competing in Canada | ParkRecord.com

Your pals, competing in Canada

Jen Watkins, Of the Record staff

Nearly 70 athletes with Park City connections joined more than 5,500 Olympians in Vancouver Friday, Feb. 12, to participate in the first-ever indoor Opening Ceremony at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

Athletes representing over 80 countries have been in Whistler this week training at the Olympic venues. Training week has brought many ups and down for U.S. athletes. According to the U.S. Ski Team, Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, Calif.) is recovering from a downhill training crash. However, Brett Camerota of Park City soared through his training.

Many of the U.S. athletes will return to areas like Park City and Jackson Hole to continue their training until their race day in Whistler, said local alpine Olympian Megan McJames.

McJames is competing in her first-ever Olymics.

"I don’t really have expectations," McJames said. "Just excited. I want to be my best on race day, but other than that, I’ll just go with the flow."

Bobsled driver Shauna Rohbock of Orem said she remembers being nervous for her first Olympics in 2006.

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"We were acting like kids on Christmas," Rohbock said of the U.S. Team. "We ended up winning silver. It’s indescribable, that feeling to be on the medal stand."

Rohbock had to overcome last-minute injuries before the 2006 Olympics. She said she pulled her hamstring and her teammate, Valerie Fleming (Park City), hurt her back. They overcame those injuries to finish with a medal.

"We were both in pain and hurting," Rohbock said. "But of us just went for it. If I don’t win the gold, I just don’t think it would tap the experience in Torino."

This year, Fleming pulled her hamstring before the 2010 Olympic team was announced and won’t be competing at the Olympics, Rohbock said.

Fellow bobsledder Steven Holcomb of Park City, said he’s excited to compete at his second Winter Games but said it’s not the same excitement for the athletes as it is for those watching the Games.

"It’s not quite the party for us like it is for everyone else," he said. "We’re there as athletes, not spectators, so it’s a different perspective for us. I don’t know if I can explain it. You dedicate your life for something for four years. You don’t want to mess it up."

Holcomb said that, although he’s grateful for the fans and his family attending the Games, he has to focus on the race and is even leaving his cell phone behind.

"It’s the (most) high-stress event of your life," he said. "Its one thing to train for a race, but another to train for a race for four years, eight years, and hope it turns out okay."

McJames said she has high hopes for herself and her teammates.

"I’m sure I’ll be nervous," she said. "It’s been my dream since I was a kid. All the work has paid off and I’m just really excited."