The 2006 Winter Olympics begin Feb. 10 in Torino, Italy.
For some, the 150 days that remain will seem like an eternity, but for the American athletes who have spent the past three years training, it will come and go faster than a Twinkie at a Weight Watchers convention.
In the fleeting months, weeks, days and hours before the games begin, several Steamboat athletes will build their cases to be members of America's 2006 Olympics team.
Some are looking for their first taste of Olympics glory, while others make another bid, wondering if these games will be their last.
For veterans such as Todd Lodwick, Johnny Spillane, Clint Jones, Caroline Lalive and Travis Mayer, the Olympics are just another part of the cycle. They know what it takes to get to the games, and now they just have to prove to the rest of the world that they belong.
Those veterans, much like the younger skiers who want to take their places, have only 150 days to make the cut.
Four years ago, the media covered the Olympics like snow covers the slopes of Steamboat Ski Area in January.
The media hounded Amer--ica's top hopefuls and promoted the Salt Lake City games like there was no tomorrow.
Well, tomorrow has come and gone.
This time around, the games and the athletes have received less attention from major media outlets. I'm sure there will be more attention as the games draw closer, but there is no way it will match the hype of 2002.
But the Olympics are not about getting attention or money.
The Olympics are about bringing the nations of the world closer for 17 days in February to share a love of sport. It's a chance for regular athletes --ot the millionaires who play football, basketball and baseball -- to compete and remind us all why sports are so important.
I have no doubt that some athletes will become heroes in the towns of Pragelato, Sestriere, Bardonecchia and Sauze d'Oulx -- maybe a few of those athletes will be from Steamboat Springs. But that fame will be fleeting.
When the games are over, Americans will return to mainstream sports, and most will forget about the Olympics heroes for another four years.
But things are different here, where we treat the people who have written our skiing heritage like kings and queens.
In Steamboat, we understand that the Olympics are a lot more than just a collection of games.
Although some athletes strive for money and glory, Steamboat athletes strive to become a part of the legacy that was built on the shoulders of skiers such as Buddy Werner.
Werner may be Steamboat's most famous skier and was part of the 1956, 1960 and 1964 Olympics teams. He never won a medal, but he has a place in Steamboat history.
When the flame reaches Torino, his spirit will be revived, along with the legacy of the Steamboat skiers who followed him.