Our View: Local Olympians give us 13 reasons to love the Games
Few places in the world get to watch the Olympics like Steamboat Springs does. It’s a blessing we get to call many of the men and women we will see in the 2022 Olympic Games our neighbors. The opening ceremonies are Friday, Feb. 4, and there are 13 athletes with local connections competing in Beijing, as the Olympics once again give the city a chance to cheer our hometown heroes on the biggest stage.
We’d say we’ve lost count how many there have been, but Steamboat recently notched its 100th Olympian with Decker Dean, who grew up on the jumps at Howelsen Hill. Being the 100th Olympian is a cool distinction for him and a fun milestone for the city. With such close proximity to Steamboat Resort and Howelsen Hill, it’s easy to see why Routt County has a such large number of winter sports stars who live and train here. Still, being a small city full of Olympians is a nice banner we get carry, and we do it happily.
Looking at the lineup of locals, Mick Dierdorff is one who’s easy to root for. He’s a snowboard cross racer who doesn’t get the same kind of support the athletes in bigger sports do, but he still puts everything on the line as he charges toward the finish line. The best chance to step on the podium might belong to freestyle skiing moguls stars Olivia Giaccio and Jaelin Kauf or snowboarder Taylor Gold in the halfpipe. At the same time, anyone who likes up-and-coming athletes should make a point to follow Cody Winters, an Alpine snowboarder who’s the youngest of the local competitors and another product of Steamboat. For an underdog, watch Jasper Good in Nordic combined, another local.
And it’s not just Americans who are getting in on the Steamboat-Olympic action. Jarryd Hughes and Belle Brockhoff both compete for Australia and came to Steamboat to train. So did Ester Ledecka, an Alpine snowboarder who wears the Czech Republic’s colors. For a complete roster of our local Olympians, event schedules and much more, look out for Sports Editor Shelby Reardon’s “Welcome to Snowboard Town, USA,” inserted in Friday’s Steamboat Pilot & Today.
The best part about sports is you never really know the outcome until they run the race, stomp the landing or break the record. We have to tip our hats to the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club for helping so many world-class athletes get in in 2022 and for giving us so many reasons to tune in.
One big bummer, international fans are barred from the 2022 Winter Olympics, much like the 2021 summer Games in Tokyo. It’s incredibly sad for the athletes who’ve worked so hard that their closest friends and families won’t be there with them as they go toe to toe with the best in the world representing the Red, White and Blue.
The training, dedication and talent it takes to reach this point is an amazing feat by itself, and every one of our Olympians deserves to have their loved ones beside them. We’re sorry that can’t happen. The pandemic has limited access to the Games for many of the athletes’ biggest supporters, but we hope they’ll hear our cheers coming from halfway around the world.
Win or lose, good day or bad, the men and women who’ve earned their place in the Olympics are everything that’s great about the Games. Seeing 13 people who have a connection to our home only serves to bring us closer together. Team USA unifies Americans across the country, and they do it locally to an even greater degree.
We know the honor of the competition is a reward by itself, but we still want to wish our Olympians luck. Your time is now. The world is captive. The work you’ve put in has gotten you to Beijing, and this is special. From Steamboat, we couldn’t be more proud. We hope you win big, but know that you’ve already won over us.
At issue: The opening ceremonies are Friday, Feb. 4, and 13 athletes with ties to Steamboat Springs will be competing in the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Our View: Even though international spectators aren’t allowed at the events, we’re pulling for them and so proud to see them competing on the world stage.
• Bonnie Stewart, publisher
• Eli Pace, editor
• Cuyler Meade, assistant editor
• Ana Gomez, community representative
• Kelly McElfish, community representative
Contact the Editorial Board at 970-871-4221 or epace@SteamboatPilot.com.
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