Olympians humbled by chance to be grand marshals of Steamboat’s 4th of July parade
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Listening to Nelson Carmichael and his wife, Caroline Lalive Carmichael, talk about being selected as grand marshals at Steamboat Springs’ annual Fourth of July parade conjures up images of a “Wayne’s World” skit.
“We are not worthy,” Nelson said when asked how he responded when the couple was asked to lead the parade. “There are business leaders and community volunteers that do tons of things, and we feel like we just competed in our sports. We give back in ways that we can, but looking at some of the past people is pretty humbling.”
Caroline is thrilled the couple can share the experience with 2-year-old daughter Freya and 3-week-old son Hugo. She said her mom Fran and Nelson’s mom Marie will be close by Wednesday for a hand-off if needed.
“I think we are hugely honored and feel totally unworthy to do it,” she said. “It’s very kind that they would think of us, especially when there are so many phenomenal people and athletes from this town.”
But in a year when the parade theme is “Red, White and Gold: Celebrating Our Olympians,” the Steamboat Springs couple seems to be the perfect choice.
Nelson, who competed at the 1988 and 1992 Winter Olympics, was part of a dominate U.S. freestyle program from 1983 to 1992. He became the first skier from Steamboat Springs and Colorado to bring home an Olympic medal when he won the bronze in the men’s field of the mogul event at the 1992 Olympic Winter Games in Albertville, France.
His career also included World Cup Grand Prix moguls titles in 1988 and 1989, 12 World Cup victories, six U.S. national titles and a pro-mogul skiing championship.
Caroline didn’t bring home an Olympic medal but was a bright star for the U.S. Ski Team during her 13-year career. She earned a World Junior Championship, had five World Cup podiums from 2001 to 2006 and competed in the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympic Games. In the 1998 Games, she finished seventh in the combined event. She was also on track to make a third Olympic appearance before an injury sidelined her in 2006.
“Nelson Carmichael and Caroline Lalive exemplify the ideals of an Olympic athlete,” said PJ Wharton, president of Yampa Valley Bank, which selects the marshals for the parade. “This husband-and-wife team are world-class athletes who have represented the United States of America in the Winter Olympics.
“Both Caroline and Nelson are much more than elite athletes,” Wharton added. “They are ambassadors for Ski Town USA, both on Mount Werner, where Nelson leads skiers down his namesake Nelson’s Run, and with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, where Caroline served as the director of Alpine skiing.”
Nelson and Caroline also are passionate about giving back and leading Steamboat area youth, both as coaches and community leaders.
“Caroline and Nelson are known for their humility and friendliness,” Wharton said. “They can be counted on to support all causes near and dear to Steamboat, especially those involving our student athletes and those who have served our country.”
The Fourth of July Parade begins at 10 a.m. and will proceed from Yampa Street down Lincoln Avenue.
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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