February 23, 2010
A funny thing happened the other day in Whistler, British Columbia. After 10 days away from my home and family, in a town where it rains more than it snows, I bumped into three guys who reminded me that the world isn’t all that big, and if you are at the Winter Olympics, Steamboat Springs simply can’t be that far away. I was lucky enough to spend a few minutes chatting with three of my favorite Steamboat Springs Olympians — Gary Crawford, Todd Wilson and Martin Bayer — at the Lift coffee shop in Whistler. The conversation took me back home and reminded me just how special the Olympic Games are in my hometown. The guys took a few days away from a packed scheduled in Steamboat Springs to come watch Johnny, Todd, Billy and Brett race in today’s Nordic combined team event. We spent a few minutes talking jumping, and about the upcoming Junior Olympic Championships, on the deck of the coffee shop next to the Lake Placid House. It was the same type of conversation I would have with Gary, Todd and Martin back in Steamboat Springs — only we are not in Steamboat Springs. We are at the Olympic Games. I just had to keep reminding myself that I was standing outside in Whistler, British Columbia, at the Olympics. The sun was shining, it was warm, and a little bit of Steamboat Springs had just arrived to remind me just how connected the people of Steamboat are to what’s going on in Canada. The funny thing is it’s not that unusual. I’ve hung out with people from Steamboat at the last three Winter Olympic Games. They could be found in Salt Lake City, they were there in Turin, Italy, and now they're in Whistler. Just mention Steamboat Springs, and most people here know exactly where you are from, and I’m never surprised to hear my name while I’m walking down a street filled with strangers. There is no question that these three guys will be standing at the base of Whistler Olympic Park today cheering, along with thousands of other fans, for the boys from Steamboat. These are the guys who helped mold the American team years ago. Long before they were world champions, long before they earned silver at the Olympics and even before they were members of the U.S. team. Through it all they have always been from, or connected to, Steamboat Springs. So if you happen to see a whole bunch of crazy American Nordic combined fans when NBC finally airs the team event, there is a pretty good chance they will be from Steamboat Springs. If you feel like cheering for the team at the top of your lungs this week, go ahead, we will hear your. Because if the Winter Olympics are unfolding anywhere in the world, there is a pretty good chance that Steamboat Springs can’t be that far away.