Caroline Lalive Carmichael: 1998 and 2002 Olympian
For Lalive Carmichael, the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan, were a blur. She was 18 and wasn’t sure what to expect. Her Olympic moment didn’t come until four years later in Utah.
“The opening ceremonies, that was really surreal,” she said. “Walking in. Lance Armstrong spoke to us before we walked in. George W. Bush was there. Walking in and being in the U.S. and representing the United States — that was pretty dang cool.”
Deb Armstrong: 1984 (giant slalom gold medal) and 1988 Olympian
For Armstrong, her Olympic moment was a little different. She thought she’d be overwhelmed but when she got to the opening ceremonies, she realized she was the same person she’d always been. It wasn’t until she stood on the podium that it hit her.
“On the podium, I laughed,” she said. “I channeled everyone that was watching. I knew what it’s like to be on the outside looking in. There I was on the inside, but I knew what it was like to be on the outside. It’s a very surreal thing. It’s difficult to sum up. It’s impossible. How do you sum up the birth of your child or one of the great moments of your life?”
Bill Demong: 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 (10K large hill gold and team silver) and 2014 Olympian
Demong only has been to one opening ceremony as he said the team always has had the mentality of “march or medal.” He said the games usually kick off for him when the first American wins a medal. But when he looks back on everything, it was what teammate Todd Lodwick did at the 1994 games that really stood out as a sign of what was possible.
“My first Olympic memory was watching Todd in 1994,” Demong said. “Everyone was watching Todd jump to fourth place. That completely changed the mentality of what was capable of U.S. Nordic skiers.”
Nelson Carmichael: 1988 and 1992 (men’s mogul bronze) Olympian
Carmichael had one of the best and worst days of his life when he made the 1988 team. The day he was named to the team, he also found out his father was killed on Rabbit Ear’s Pass. He went to the 1988 Olympics but struggled. By 1992, when he stood on the podium with snow flying, he was glad it was over.
“It’s a relief to be over,” he said. “They did a ceremony right on the hill. There was a giant crowd there. There was a giant crowd and it was snowing hard. That was a truly special moment.”
Billy Kidd: 1964 (slalom silver) Olympian
Kidd had the fastest training run in the downhill, the first event of the 1964 Olympics. He thought he’d go on to win a medal in that event. When they drew start lists, Kidd was first to go. His Olympic moment came in the starting gate of the downhill.
“Thirty seconds before the start, I couldn’t breathe,” he said. “It felt like I was wearing a leather strap around my chest. My knees were weak. I thought I was going to fall down in the start gate. My first three to four turns were horrible. Finally I snapped back into it. I finished 16th. In the downhill the pressure got to me.”