Nancy Spillane couldn’t hold back her tears Tuesday while thanking the community for embracing her son, Johnny, who will compete in Vancouver, British Columbia, this month as a member of the U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team. It was a moving moment during our weekly Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs meeting, and one that brought many other club members to tears.
The Spillanes won’t be the only ones headed north of the border in the coming days. The families of other local Olympians — think the Lodwicks and the Fletchers — also will trek to Vancouver for the 2010 games that kick off Friday with the opening ceremonies. Perhaps as proof of our devotion to skiing and all things winter, there are still other Routt County residents traveling to Canada for work and pleasure. Go Alpine taxi and shuttle drivers Chris Lohmann, Jim McVeigh and Jeff Hall already are on the ground in Canada serving as drivers for Olympic spectators and athletes. Dr. Andreas Sauerbrey is the head physician for the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team. And the list goes on.
The Steamboat Pilot & Today will be there, too. Veteran Pilot & Today photographer and reporter John F. Russell leaves today to cover his third Olympic Games for this newspaper and community, having previously been to the 2002 Salt Lake City games and the 2006 games in Turin, Italy. And he’ll have some company this go-around. Pilot & Today sports reporter Luke Graham will join Russell in Vancouver. The duo will be there for the duration of the games, providing daily stories, photos, blog entries and videos to readers back home in the Yampa Valley. It will leave us a little short-handed in the sports department during their absence, but we think it’s a sacrifice worth making in a city known as Ski Town USA.
Russell’s and Graham’s work will be showcased daily in the pages of our newspaper, but perhaps more important is the journalism that will be provided online. We’ve created a special Olympics page at www.steamboatpilot.com/olympics, where you’ll find the latest news and information from Vancouver with a focus on our hometown athletes. The page includes widgets with updated Olympics TV schedules, tweets from Graham, and every story we have and will produce related to these Olympic Games. Daily blog updates from Russell and Graham will add color and insight into the Olympic experiences of spectators and athletes.
Graham will “tweet” throughout the games, providing up-to-the-minute updates on events featuring local competitors. Creating a Twitter account is easy and free. Once you’re logged in, sign up to follow StmbtOlympics. You can even adjust your Twitter settings to have updates sent to your mobile device and e-mail.
Finally, we’d love to hear from other Routt County residents heading to Vancouver. If you’re interested in writing a blog or simply sending us some of your photos and video from the games, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll find a way to include your submissions online, in print or both.
From the Editor appears every Thursday in the Steamboat Today. To contact Brent Boyer, call 970-871-4221 or e-mail email@example.com