Editorial: Park City’s Olympians deserve a gold-medal homecoming parade
They worked hard for years to earn their place on one of the biggest stages in sports. And in South Korea, Park City’s Olympians and Paralympians represented us with pride.
Now, it’s our turn to say thanks. Parkites should turn out en masse Friday for a homecoming parade in honor of the 65 athletes with local ties — collectively nicknamed Park City Nation — who competed in Pyeongchang this winter. Given the thousands of hours of work and the dedication it took for them to reach the games, it’s important for residents to let them know we took notice.
And with five-time Olympian Billy Demong, a gold-medal winner in Nordic combined in 2010 and an important figure in Park City’s sports scene, serving as grand marshall of the parade, it promises to be a bash befitting their accomplishments.
In addition to being an opportunity to show our appreciation, though, the festivities are sure to be a flat-out good time. Parkites will get to rub shoulders with the athletes who soared down the slopes, spun through the air and dashed for the podium in Pyeongchang. Along with Demong, the event will be highlighted by one of the most decorated U.S. alpine skiers in history in Ted Ligety, bronze medal winners Brita Sigourney and Mia Manganello, who compete in halfpipe skiing and speedskating, respectively, and veteran bobsledder Chris Fogt.
The celebration will also serve as a reminder of our Olympic heritage as Park City continues to contemplate what it might be like to help host another games. The competitors we’ll laud Friday include several homegrown stars who personify that heritage, such as ski jumpers Will Rhoads and Abby Ringquist, freestyle skier Madison Olsen and slopestyle skier McRae Williams — not to mention Ligety. Their dreams were fostered in the afterglow of the 2002 Olympics, and many can trace their success back to growing up in this community.
That so many in Park City have grown up dreaming of competing in the Olympics — and have actually gotten there — speaks volumes about this town. And perhaps one or two future Olympians or Paralympians will be inspired Friday when they see the athletes they rooted for this winter on TV up close.
Add that to the long list of reasons to bust out the Olympic gear one last time this season and celebrate. We’ll see you on Main Street.
The Park City Nation Olympic & Paralympic Parade is scheduled for Friday at 5 p.m. on Main Street. In addition to the parade, athletes will speak and sign autographs. More information is available at ysaparkcity.org.