Olympians visit North Routt school | SteamboatToday.com

Olympians visit North Routt school

Lalive and Carmichael speak to charter school students

Jack Weinstein

Former Olympians Caroline Lalive and Nelson Carmichael sign autographs Tuesday for North Routt Community Charter School first-grader Gus Luster. Lalive and Carmichael visited the school and spoke with students during a unit about American heroes.

— With Ski Town USA a short trip down Routt County Road 129, North Routt Community Charter School teacher Missy Beirne thought, why not have a couple of Olympians visit with students?

Former Olympians and Steamboat Springs residents Caroline Lalive and Nelson Car­michael spoke to the school's more than 60 students Tuesday, addressing several topics.

They talked about training (getting up at 6 a.m. to ski), injuries (Lalive had 19 surgeries during her career), their biggest fears (Carmichael worried about the cold; Lalive was always afraid of not doing well), how fast they skied (Lalive once went 96 miles per hour) and success (too much to print here.)

"I thought it was awesome that we could have Olympians at our school because I'm sure they have other things to do," fourth-grader Ezra Tebbenkamp said. "It was awesome they could take the time out of their day to visit us."

Beirne, who team-teaches kindergarten through second grade, said some of the school's students are studying American heroes. After they studied composers, inventors and past presidents, she thought about Olympians.

And the timing couldn't be more perfect, Beirne said, between last week's Winter Carnival and this year's Winter Olympics, which start Friday in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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Katrina Wellman, who teaches kindergarten through second grade with Beirne, added that it was a great incentive for the students, many of who are involved with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club or are recreational skiers and snowboarders.

But charter school Director Colleen Poole noted another benefit of the visit by Lalive and Carmichael.

"I think it's important to see how hard these people work … to achieve a goal, to put their minds to something, not just for the Olympics, but life in general."

Several students said they enjoyed getting to see Car­michael's bronze medal, which he won in men's freestyle moguls skiing at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France. Others were enamored of some of the equipment Lalive brought. But mostly, they were just excited to meet a couple of former Olympians.

"I thought it was really cool because I've never met an Olympian before," fourth-grader Hannah Rosencutter said.

Lalive said Tuesday's presentation gave her an opportunity to give back. When Lalive was growing up, she said, she appreciated meeting with other athletes and hearing about how they persevered.

"When I was a kid, it meant so much to me," she said.

Carmichael said it was funny how the question-and-answer session at times turned into an opportunity for the students to share stories about their own exploits on skis. Carmichael said he was reminded of their youthful innocence.

"This is a great group because they're young," he said. "They're just starting out. There's so much opportunity here that they're ready and willing to take advantage of."

— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 871-4203 or e-mail jweinstein@steamboatpilot.com