Saturday, February 23, 2002
With the Winter Olympics nearly over, it gives us all a chance to breathe a little deeper and think a little deeper about what was accomplished during these events.
For Steamboat Springs, it was huge.
We saw our own Travis Mayer earn a silver medal in the freestyle moguls competition, which is not only the highest medal awarded to a Steamboat athlete but also only the third medal awarded to a Steamboat athlete in Olympic history.
Steamboat sent some 16 athletes to the games the most participants sent to the games by any community in the country and possibly the world.
Todd Lodwick had the highest finish ever for an American Nordic combined skier 5th place and the effort by Steamboat athletes helped push the American team to its highest finish ever 4th place.
Shannon Dunn finished fifth in the snowboarding halfpipe and Ann Battelle finished seventh in women's moguls, her best finish in four Olympics.
While Steamboat Springs has much to be proud of, the United States can also take pride as a nation in its accomplishments at the games.
Beyond winning a record number of medals 30 as of press time the U.S. saw its first African American and first Hispanic American athletes take gold medals in the winter games.
As Steamboat Springs residents, we should take pride in these accomplishments that continue to strengthen our Olympic heritage as we look to the possibilities of our future.
While the Olympic torch did not come through Steamboat Springs, residents did not pass up the chance to come together to show support for our homegrown athletes and show pride in our community.
After the Feb. 1 celebration, punctuated by Billy Kidd's lighting of the Olympic Cauldron, Steamboat resident Jon Peddie said, "in all the years you'll live in Steamboat, that was by far as good an example of community spirit as you'll ever see."
But why not have that same community spirit burning through the residents of Steamboat Springs whether the cauldron is lit or not?
Why not have that same community spirit shine brightly beyond our Olympic heritage to the other facets of our city that make it the place where we want to live?