Steamboat has ties to more than 100 Olympic athletes

Every Winter Olympics a pilgrimage takes place from Steamboat to the world’s biggest athletic stage, a migration of which town is especially proud. Steamboat fosters and breeds Olympians because of its values, character, supportive community and access to world-class outdoor recreation. 

During the South Korea Games, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club sent 15 athletes to represent disciplines as varied as snowboarding and Nordic Combined. Club-trained Ester Ledecka won golds in Alpine skiing Super G and Snowboard Parallel GS; Steamboat born and raised Arielle Gold won the bronze in halfpipe; and Jarryd Hughes won the silver in Snowboard Cross.  

“During Olympic years our community swells with pride,” says the club’s Athletic Director Jon Nolting. “It’s when our local athletes get to put their skills to the test for all the world to see.”

“Some towns nurture baseball or football; Steamboat nurtures Olympians.”

         — Three-time Nordic combined Olympic silver medalist Johnny Spillane

Steamboat and SSWSC are home to more Olympians than any other town in the country. They wave to you on the street, stand behind you in the grocery line and hop on the chairlift next to you to ride single. From John Steele becoming the town’s first Olympian in 1932 and Billy Kidd winning the U.S. men’s first skiing Olympic Medal in 1964 to local Nordic combined skiers winning seven medals at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Steamboat has ties to more than 100 Olympic athletes, with more than 160 Olympic appearances.

“The Olympic tradition here is hard to rival,” says retired Nordic combined skier Johnny Spillane, who brought home three silver medals in 2010 and now owns Steamboat Flyfisher. “The town has created an atmosphere that breeds Olympic-quality competitors. Some towns nurture baseball or football; Steamboat nurtures Olympians.”

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