Fueling the Olympic spirit

Community cauldron for athletes to be lighted tonight

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— Nelson Carmichael, Steamboat Springs' first Olympic medalist, will light a community cauldron tonight during a ceremony to kick off the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

Carmichael, who won a bronze medal in moguls in 1992, will light the cauldron at 6 p.m. on the lawn of the Routt County Courthouse in downtown Steamboat.

This year, 20 Olympians with ties to Steamboat will be commemorated each night with the lighting of the cauldron.

"It's not one entity or organization, but the entire community that openly embraces these athletes and plays a key role in establishing the core foundation for Ski Town USA and its Olympics tradition," said Andy Wirth, vice president of marketing and sales for Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.

The cauldron will burn from 6 to 10 p.m. every night during the Winter Games. The cauldron will be lighted in honor of every Steamboat Olympian, but a different athlete will be highlighted each day.

This year, Steamboat is sending Olympians in Nordic combined, special jumping, skiing and snowboarding.

"The spirit to strive for greatness, and the unwavering support of athletes of all ability levels, allowing them to fulfill their dreams, whether that's just getting started in the sport or competing on the international stage, is truly what makes this community unique and sets Steamboat apart from any other place in the world," Wirth said.

Businesses or individuals can sponsor a night of the cauldron for $175. Their names will be placed in an advertisement that will appear in the Steamboat Pilot & Today. For more information, call Erin Windt in Ski Corp.'s marketing department at 871-5494.

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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