Event to celebrate Olympians | SteamboatToday.com

Event to celebrate Olympians

Community gathering set to recognize Olympic heritage

— Steamboat Springs will send its athletes to Salt Lake City in style with a community celebration Feb. 1 on the courthouse lawn.

“The celebration is a time to set aside differences and draw out community pride associated with Steamboat’s Olympic heritage,” said Andy Wirth, vice president of marketing at the Steamboat Springs Ski & Resort Corp. and organizer for the event.

Wirth said the participation of past Olympians will enhance the meaning of the celebration by acknowledging Steamboat’s 70-year Olympic history.

“It’ll make people proud to call the Yampa Valley home and give the Olympians a great send-off message.”

Wirth said he is expecting 15 to 20 past and present Olympians to participate in the celebration, including Tim Tetreault, Nelson Carmichael and Billy Kidd.

Past and present Steamboat Olympians will begin the celebration by running or skiing in an Olympic torch relay from the Billy Kidd statue at the base of Mount Werner to the courthouse lawn, where a 12-foot cauldron will be waiting for an Olympian to light.

The cauldron flame will burn until all Steamboat Olympians return home to Steamboat, Wirth said.

The celebration will continue with presentations by several community leaders from city and county government, the Chamber Resort Association and the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.

City Council President Kathy Connell will speak and present a check on behalf of the city to the Olympic participants to help offset travel and training expenses.

“It’s the biggest honor to participate in the ceremony and represent the city, but it is even more of an honor for the city to have so many Olympians,” Connell said.

Connell said she was disappointed the actual Olympic torch wasn’t coming through Steamboat but was glad the town would have its own torch.

“Community members should take a breath, stop for part of the day and look at how many Olympians are coming from Steamboat,” Connell said.

“I want people to embrace it and realize what a big deal it is.”

Following the individual speakers, a video on Steamboat’s Olympic tradition will be shown on a 20-foot screen. The video presentation will be accompanied by spectacular fireworks, Wirth said. To conclude the celebration there will be a block party with the band Liquid Soul.

“The whole concept is that it is not one person, but the entire community that has produced these Olympians,” Wirth said.

Wirth said the celebration is an opportunity for the community to unite and enhance town spirit and pride.

He said local sponsors have been enormously helpful in organizing the event but still more sponsors are needed to benefit the Olympians and the send-off celebration.

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