Johnny Spillane’s letter to the Steamboat Springs community
April 18, 2013
Steamboat Springs — I would like to take this opportunity to thank the community of Steamboat Springs for the incredible support it has given me over the years. I've been very fortunate to be raised in this town and have the opportunities that Steamboat provides, but it is time for me to move on. It has been a long and productive career, and I have no regrets as I start a new chapter in my life.
I've had many people ask why I won't ski one more year with the Sochi Olympic Games on the horizon. The answer is simple: My desire to be at home with my family outweighs my desire to pursue another Olympic medal. In addition, I'm at a point in my personal life where I cannot afford to take the risk involved with professional athletics. I have a family for which I provide, and an injury or poor season can make it incredibly difficult to do so. While I will miss the sport, I will not miss the travel and the weeks away from home. It is difficult to watch your daughters grow up on Skype.
I would like to specifically thank Joe Bishop, everyone at the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, Mike Lane, Dave Jarrett, Chris Gilbertson and all the folks at Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., SmartWool, Honey Stinger and Moots. Without your support, I wouldn't have been able to achieve what I did. I'd like to thank Bill Demong; he is a great teammate and more importantly a great friend. I wish him the best of luck in the future and hope that he can continue the success that he has earned with his hard work and tireless dedication. The same goes for the rest of my teammates; it has been a pleasure to train, travel and compete with you, and I wish you the best as you continue to pursue your dreams. I'd like to send my heartfelt thanks to my parents. They supported me from the beginning, and without them, none of this would have been possible. Most of all, I'd like to thank my wife, Hilary. She has stuck with me through all the injuries, subsequent surgeries and bad seasons but never wavered with her support. It can be very hard and lonely for her while I'm gone, and she has dealt with it like a true champion. I will forever be grateful.
I am very proud of what our team accomplished while I was a member. When I started, we had no Olympic or World Championship medals. Now the team boasts of three World Champions, two Olympic individual medalists and one Olympic champion.
Bryan and Taylor Fletcher have really stepped up and made great strides the past few years. Now they are filling our shoes and leading the way. The U.S. has many other other talented young skiers, both at the U.S. Ski Team and club levels, who are ready to take the next step and represent the United States in the future. Good luck to all of you! I feel confident when I say that the U.S. Nordic combined team, under Dave Jarrett's guidance, will continue to improve and stay on the same course that my generation helped set in motion.
Once again, thank you, Steamboat, for all of your support. This truly is a special place, and I look forward to being here and enjoying all it has to offer with everyone in the future.