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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

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For the week of February 5 - 12, 2002

  Features

 

Sun Valley salutes its Olympians

2002 contenders and former Olympians gather at celebration


By DANA DUGAN
Express Staff Writer

A festive air swept through the River Run Lodge Tuesday evening as the Sun Valley Co. and the Sun Valley/Ketchum Chamber of Commerce honored local Olympians, past and present.

Muffy Davis, a Paralympic mono-skier, chats with a couple of admirers Tuesday at the Olympic Community Celebration. Express photo by Willy Cook

 

The Olympic Community Celebration especially noted the presence of two Wood River Valley Olympians, Sondra Van Ert, of the U.S. Snowboard Team, and Muffy Davis, a Paralympic mono-skier.

Also present were Idaho Lt. Gov. Jack Riggs, Sen. Clint Stennett, D-Ketchum, Earl Holding, owner of Sun Valley Co., and Olympic torch bearers Rod Tatsuno and Paula Macaya.

Tatsuno displayed a long string of autographed race bibs signed by Wood River students that he wore during his recent run with the Olympic Torch in Twin Falls.

Chamber Executive Director Carol Waller also introduced Ketchum resident Chip Fisher, who was instrumental in bringing U.S. and international Olympians to the valley to train. For the past couple of years heís served as the co-chair of the Governorís State Olympic Committee.

"We were so pleased at the great community turn-out considereing this was all pulled together by Carrie Schiller-Westergard, the chamberís director of marketing who coordinated the event, in about a weekís time," said Waller.

Holding told the partisan Sun Valley crowd that "Sun Valley is still my first love," despite all the attention that his Utah ski resort, Snowbasin, is receiving as an Olympic venue. Many improvements were made so that it could be ready for and used during the 2002 Winter Olympics.

"Iím honored that so many of you supported this mountain, the great snow, great place, great employees," he said about Sun Valley and Bald Mountain.

Tatsuno presented Davis with his fatherís family gold signet ring to wear during the Paralympics in March. The ring was brought from Japan with the elder Tatsuno many years before he and his family were interned in Utah during World War II. Rod, a Ketchum ski instructor, was born at the camp .

Davis, visibly moved, said that she had taken the same ring to Nagano, Japan, in 1998 as a good luck charm. She won a Bronze medal that year in the Paralympics. Davis said that sheíd be wearing the ring around her neck when she competes in Ogden in early March.

"Iím just enjoying it all," said a happy and relaxed Davis. "I have a month of training before my first race on March 7."

Van Ert introduced her fellow U.S. Olympic Snowboard Team, who were training on Bald Mountain. They include Jeff Greenwood, Pete Thorndike, and Chris Klug from the menís team, and from the womenís team Rosey Fletcher, Lisa Odynski and Lisa Kosglow from Boise. They all stood in front of a roaring fire surrounding Davis, along with several past Olympians, who also hail from the Wood River Valley.

"Itís all because of you and this wonderful town that I can get out there and climb to the top of the podium, and know that when Sondra and I get there youíre there with us," Davis said to the crowd, who responded with a deafening cheer, hearty applause and nary a dry eye.

 


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.