YSA teams send eight to Youth Olympics
Youth Sports Alliance teams are sending a delegation of eight athletes to the 2016 Youth Olympic Games that began on Friday in Lillehammer, Norway. Team Park City United (TPCU) is represented by four slopestyle skiers. Alex Hall and Nikita Rubocki will compete for the United States and Benjamin Garces and Valentina Garces will represent their home country of Chile. Duncan Biles, Ashley Farquharson and Alanson Owen from the Wasatch Luge Club (WLC) and Ben Loomis — competing in Nordic combined from the Park City Nordic Ski Club — will represent the United States. All three teams are members of and financially supported by the Youth Sports Alliance.
Park City athletes make up 10 percent of the United States delegation of 62 athletes heading to Lillehammer in which 1,100 athletes from 71 countries will participate in the event scheduled Feb. 12-21. All competitors are between 15 and 18 years of age. The Youth Olympic Games is organized by the International Olympic Committee and features all 15 events slated for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Chris "Hatch" Haslock, Director of Competitive Freeskiing and Skiing Development for Team Park City United and 1988 Olympic Aerialist, observed that "four of the 22 slopestyle athletes invited to compete at the Youth Olympic Games train full-time with TPCU — more than any other development team in the world." Haslock added, "TPCU’s coaches and training facilities consistently produce some of the top freeskiers in the world."
TPCU athletes train predominately at Park City Mountain, a Vail-operated resort and venue for the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Jon Owen, Head Coach of Wasatch Luge Club and 1988 Olympic Luger, notes that Park City athletes sliding for the WLC filled three of the four U.S. luge spots for the Games.
He said, "I am proud of our local kids qualifying for Lillehammer. It shows that our hometown venues and teams are doing a good job putting kids on the world stage."
Luge athletes train at the Utah Olympic Park, a legacy venue from the 2002 Winter Olympics.
The Youth Sports Alliance supports winter sport activities for youth in Summit and Wasatch counties, promoting good sportsmanship and healthy lifestyles through participation, education and competition. The Alliance raises funds for its nine affiliated sports teams, provides scholarships for Junior athletes though the Stein Eriksen YSA Opportunity Endowment and organized the Get Out & Play after school ‘learn-to’ program. YSA Member teams include: Figure Skating Club of Park City, Park City Ice Miners, Park City Ski Team, Park City Speed Skating Club, Summit Ski Team, Team Park City United, Utah Olympic Sports Clubs (Fly Freestyle, Park City Nordic Ski Club, G-Force Bobsled & Skeleton), Wasatch Freestyle Foundation and Wasatch Luge Club.
Team Park City United is a Park City-based freeride, freestyle and freeski program providing coaching from grassroots through elite levels with more than 300 members. TPCU was named 2015 USSA Freeskiing Club of the Year and 2015 USSA Snowboard Club of the Year with Chris "Hatch" Haslock garnering the 2015 USSA Freeskiing Domestic Coach of the Year honor.
Wasatch Luge Club aids in the development of luge by supplying athletes to USA Luge-sponsored programs leading to the National Team, by working to expand public knowledge of the sport and by supplying volunteers for the running of development and competition programs.
Park City Nordic Ski Club encompasses all things Nordic. The club offers programs in the areas of cross-country skiing and Nordic ski jumping for all ages and abilities. PCNSC was named USSA Club of the Year in 2015. PCNSC is also a USSA Gold Certified club. PCNSC athletes train at Utah Olympic Park and utilize trails maintained by Mountain Trails Foundation and Basin Recreation.
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