UOP to host Olympic Trials
To conclude a busy month in which the Utah Olympic Park has already hosted a Luge World Cup and a Bobsled/Skeleton World Cup, the Nordic combined and ski jumping Olympic trials will hit Park City on Saturday, Dec. 28, and Sunday, Dec. 29.
Though the schedule has been jam-packed, UOP marketing manager Melanie Welch wouldn’t have it any other way.
"It’s awesome having it be an Olympic year," she said. "We’ve had non-stop events going on up here. It’s been a crazy winter, but an exciting winter."
But the Olympic trials for Nordic combined and ski jumping athletes are extra special, Welch added, because of the hometown feel.
"It seems like a natural place [to host the trials] since a lot of these Olympians come from this area," she said. "Having these awesome resources in our backyard, it’s amazing to see these athletes compete at this level on the road to Sochi."
Indeed, there will be plenty of local athletes to root for next weekend. The women’s ski jumping team, made up of Jessica Jerome, Lindsey Van, Abby Hughes and Alissa Johnson, as well as the injured Sarah Hendrickson, all live and train in Park City. On the Nordic combined side, athletes like Billy Demong and Taylor and Bryan Fletcher train at the USSA Center of Excellence. The men’s ski jumping team features Anders Johnson, brother of Alissa, another Park City resident.
Welch said being so close to the UOP definitely helped spring some of these athletes to the next level.
"Access to these facilities alone is important," she said. "These kids grew up having access to these world-class hills."
The event will kick off on Saturday with the jumping portion of the Nordic combined competition. It will begin at 9:15 a.m. at the HS-100 hill.
That afternoon, the cross-country portion of the Nordic combined competition will be held on the Basin Recreation 5K loop at the base of the park. That will begin at 2 p.m. and will feature a Nordic festival with food trucks, music, entertainment and more.
Additionally, a Road to Sochi traveling exhibit will make a stop at the UOP this weekend. It will give visitors the chance to try winter sports like curling and simulate the feeling of a ski jump.
Sunday morning, the ski jumping competitions will be front and center, beginning at 11:10 a.m. Awards will immediately follow the competitions.
Saturday, Dec. 28
Sunday, Dec. 29
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The soccer tournaments run from July 29 through July 31.