With Olympics in Full Swing, Park City Feels at Center of Games

As it does each four years, the Winter Olympics has seized our attention as the world’s best athletes take to the snow and ice. Even with the 2022 games taking place far afield in Beijing, As it does each four years, the Winter Olympics has seized our attention as the world’s best athletes take to the snow and ice. It promises to be an exciting two weeks of action with no shortage of medal hopes for some of the leading nations competing in Asia. At many of the leading online bookmakers offering sportsbook bonuses for this event, the big question is who will rule the winter world. Even with the 2022 games taking place far afield in Beijing, Park City holds an intimate connection to the event. Dozens of Team USA athletes have connections to China, natives like mogul skiers Nick Page and Cole McDonald or athletes who live and train there regularly such as snowboarder Kelly Clark or freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy. These athletes live and train in the area to help manifest their Olympic dreams into reality.

It all begins with the athletes. Park City is a place where the public ego should be held firmly in check because the other person in the checkout line at the Smith’s could well be a current or future Olympic Champion. Some local athletes have already turned in great performances, such as Nick Page who finished just off the podium in fifth in the men’s mogul competition in his first Olympics. One of his teammates Cole McDonald, another Park City Local, made history as the youngest male mogul skier to represent the United States in the Olympics. Meanwhile, mogul skier Brad Wilson, a Montana native who has long lived and trained in Park City, wrapped up a stellar Olympic career that saw him compete in three different games and earn a bronze medal in Vancouver in 2010.

Luger Ashley Farquharson finished a strong twelfth in her Olympic Debut. Speedskater Casey Dawson endured a whirlwind of covid tests and delays just to make it to Beijing only 12 hours before his 1,500 meter race, borrowing a pair of blades for his skates from a competitor. Simply making it there for his race representing the country is a victory to be proud of. Cross country skier Rosie Brennan narrowly missed out on a medal after finishing an outstanding fourth in the sprint event behind teammate Jesse Diggins.

Many others are still awaiting their opportunity to shine, including men’s freeskiing athletes Colby Stevenson and Alex Hall who will compete in big air and slopestyle as well as women’s freeskiing athlete Marin Hamill. The slopestyle events take place near the end of the games on Feb. 12 and 13. Nordic combined athletes Jared Shumate and Stephen Schumann made their Olympic debuts on February 9 with the individual normal hill and 10-kilometer portion of the event.

Even outside of the Park City bubble, Utah athletes continue to shine. 35 athletes at the games are either current or former students at the University of Utah. Figure skating titan Nathan Chen—the three-time world champion born and raised in Salt Lake City—has already made history by setting a world record with 113.97 points in the short program during a routine that featured two quadruple jumps.

Even as we watch our local heroes in awe, we’re left pondering what the future of the Olympics will hold for Park City. The possibility of the games returning to the mountains of Utah in 2030 or 2034 both tantalizes and terrifies. The 2002 Games undoubtedly helped put Park City on the global map, but they also begat some of the growth and development that confounds the community to this day.

The whims of the Olympic selection process will impact Park City and Utah’s future in innumerable ways, but in the meantime, we might as well let our local pride flow while cheering on our athletes as they take to the world stage.

Tony Gill
Tony Gillhttps://www.saltlakemagazine.com/
Tony Gill is the outdoor and Park City editor for Salt Lake Magazine and previously toiled as editor-in-chief of Telemark Skier Magazine. Most of his time ignoring emails is spent aboard an under-geared single-speed on the trails above his home.

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