Record editorial: Seeing familiar faces chase gold is always a thrill |

Record editorial: Seeing familiar faces chase gold is always a thrill

If the Summer Olympics are held in a couple months as scheduled, there will be at least one Parkite competing.

Mountain biker Haley Batten, who grew up in Park City, qualified for the Games earlier this month with a second-place finish in a World Cup race in the Czech Republic. And if that weren’t exciting enough, it’s possible that another Parkite, mountain biker Keegan Swenson, could also soon punch a ticket to the Olympics.

Their hometown will be cheering them on the whole way, even though this is something a little different for us winter sports enthusiasts in Park City.

After all, it’s commonplace for the Winter Olympics to feature Parkites, and several, like Ted Ligety, Steven Holcomb and Joss Christensen, have brought home hardware. We always seem to have a few rooting interests at the Winter Games. That’s not to say we haven’t been here before with the Summer Olympics, though — at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, we cheered hard for Park City rower Devery Karz.

Despite the long-lasting good fortune of getting to watch members of our community compete on the world’s biggest stage, it remains a thrill for Parkites to see one — or more — of their own achieve such heights and earn a chance to carve out their own Olympic legacies. For Parkites who already were eager for the Olympics to begin, especially after last year’s coronavirus-forced postponement, seeing a familiar face compete only adds to the excitement.

Likely more than a few Parkites have already looked up the dates of the mountain biking competitions in Tokyo to ensure they don’t miss seeing Batten and Swenson — should he qualify — compete.

And for the athletes, knowing they’ve got supporters rooting for them back home will hopefully provide a confidence boost during the most important competitions of their lives. Let’s be sure they know we’re in their corner as they complete the last few weeks of preparations.

In Park City, it’s no secret that we’re passionate about the Olympics. It’s even better when a fellow Parkite is vying for medals and the glory that accompanies them. Thanks to Batten — and hopefully Swenson — the experience of watching the Tokyo Games this summer will be exhilarating indeed.

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