Steamboat Springs Can you imagine what a mind blowing garage sale the organizers of the Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympics could throw?
Let's face it your average Steamboat garage sale offers several pairs of skis that nobody would be caught dead on, 50 pairs of children's jammies with dated cartoon characters all over them, one dot matrix printer, three patched inner tubes, an elk rack with a busted point and a musty down sleeping bag.
But think of all that great stuff left over after the Olympics hundreds of flags and banners, official uniforms that never got used, cool signs for Snowbasin, several cases of official Olympic hockey pucks all kinds of really great stuff that would fill up that empty storage closet in your house.
Well, guess what? somebody already thought of it. In fact SLOC (Salt Lake Organizing Committee) held a garage sale the Monday morning after the closing ceremonies and several thousand people showed up. But the public wasn't invited. Only Olympic officials and volunteers were invited to paw through, and haggle over the souvenirs of a lifetime.
Judy and Gordon Jones should know they waited in line for three hours and came away with some great schwag.
The Joneses worked in the competition secretary's office at the Soldier Hollow cross country skiing venue during the Winter Games. They hosted a party Sunday night for about 25 Steamboaters who volunteered in various capacities at the Olympics. Judy looked stunning in a very official looking red Olympic vest. None of the other partygoers had anything like it.
That's because the red vests at the Olympics were reserved specifically for medical personnel. Judy scored one at the Olympic Garage sale. She is now an orthopedic surgeon, even though she's never been to med school.
As much as she likes the red vest, Judy believes the garage sale item that will stand the test of time is an official looking standard about 5 feet tall. It is painted in the official pastel Olympic colors and has the logo of the Salt Lake games. Painted vertically on the standard are the words "Chinese Tapei." The Joneses keep it right next to their fireplace. It looks really Olympic.
Looking back on the Olympics, Kathi Meyer says she'll never forget the story of Norwegian Nordic combined skier Lars Andreas Ostvik, who was meant to compete, but never had the chance because an Olympic official ran him down with his car.
Meyer said the international media seemed surprisingly ignorant of Ostvik's fate.
It seems on the morning of the trial ski jumping, Ostvik was on a narrow road outside the wax cabins near the top of the ski jumps in Utah Olympic Park. He was stretching and limbering up when a car approached. The driver was taping a video out his window and never saw the athlete until after he'd knocked him down and dragged him behind his car.
Ostvik was banged up, but
wasn't seriously injured. In fact, Meyer said, he refused medical attention and limped to the top of the ski jump. He took one practice ride, but couldn't continue his Olympic games were prematurely over.
It was just the latest incident in a bad string for Ostvik. While training at Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs two weeks earlier, he felt ill and went to the hospital. A local surgeon removed his appendix.
The Norwegian coaches said they intended to frame Ostvik's torn jacket so that many years from, now, he'll be able to look back and remember the year he went to the Olympics in America.
Some of the volunteers at Sunday night's party had gone home to Steamboat after the first week of the Olympics, and missed getting their official goodie bag. They received their reward from SLOC at the party. In addition to a commemorative Pulsar watch, they each received an official Olympic competition bib. Of the many thousands of bibs given away, a handful were signed by Olympic medal winners and distributed randomly in the goodie bags.
Jim Peterson (husband of Kathi Meyer) of Steamboat is the proud owner of a bib signed by Olympic gold medalist Samppa Lajunen.
Steamboaters Edie Fogliano and Sally Wither got to know many of the Olympic ski jumpers on a casual basis while working in the athletes' lounge at Utah Olympic Park.
"It just seemed like a great big ski jump meet that went on for three weeks," Wither said. "I had to remind myself, 'Hey, this is the Olympics!'
"Simone Amman (double gold medalist) was just a regular little guy. When you're there every day," it's no big deal.
Jeff Nelson was among the hardest working officials at the Olympics during 17 days at Soldier Hollow, where he was chief of course for all Nordic combined races, and assistant chief of course for the cross country races, he helped to put on 27 events. Among the factors they had to contend with was wildlife.
"We had deer on the course every night," Nelson recalled.
The crew that maintains Soldier Hollow year round had to extricate six deer from the fences surrounding the course, and one of them did not survive.
"What did you do with the dead deer?" Nelson asked.
"We took it up there and fed it to the mountain lion," was the reply.
I don't know about you, but a mountain lion would make me ski really fast. And if you're feeling left out of the post Olympic garage sale, don't despair. Many former Olympic officials are selling their uniforms on eBay.
Just don't get suckered into purchasing one of the yellow uniforms provided to parking lot and security volunteers. The green uniforms are much more prestigious, because those volunteers had access to the athletes.
You should be able to pick up a green uniform, complete with hat, gloves, jacket, vest and shoulder pouch for a mere $800.
Alternately, you might make the rounds of local garage sales in June and bag a complete uni for $19.