Female ski jumpers in spotlight on Olympic Day
Eight months before their sport debuts at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, members of the top-ranked U.S. Women's Ski Jumping Team will be highlighted Sunday in Utah's celebration of Olympic Day.
Utah Olympic Park outside of Park City will be one of 558 locations nationwide in which Olympic Day will be honored with programs focusing on "Olympic values and ideals such as fair play, perseverance, respect and sportsmanship," said U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun.
In Utah, that spirit will be reflected in an appearance by ski jumpers Sarah Hendrickson, Abby Hughes, Jessica Jerome, Alissa Johnson and Lindsey Van and the opening of a new exhibit at the park's Alf Engen Ski Museum, which features trophies, medals, photos, skis and other memorabilia they have accumulated.
"We are excited to feature women's ski jumping in our four mobile exhibits in the entrance," said Connie Nelson, the museum's executive director. "We have cheered these athletes on their journey to the Olympics since opening in May 2002. We are honored to feature their history through the years and will be excited to see them excel in Sochi."
The Winter Games run Feb. 7-23, 2014.
For their part, said 2013 ski jumping world champion Hendrickson, jumpers hope the celebration "inspires all Utah young girls and boys who get the same great opportunities in sport that we did growing up here."
The exhibit will be unveiled at noon. An official Olympic Day proclamation then will be read, followed by introductions of the jumpers, other Olympic athletes in training living in Utah, and Summit County officials. The Flying Ace All-Stars will put on a 30-minute show in the park's splash pool. It costs $10 for adults and $5 for seniors 65 and older and youths age 3-12.
Nelson said All-Stars and Olympians will sign autographs while a Salt Lake City-based youth band, School of Rock, plays from 2-4 p.m.
Blackmun said he expects 150,000 Americans to participate in Olympic Day activities nationwide. International celebrations of Olympic Day, recognized officially since 1948 as June 23, are planned in 160 countries.
Also this weekend
More than 3,000 cyclists are expected to take part Saturday and Sunday in Bike MS, a fundraiser to help the Utah-Southern Idaho Chapter of the National MS Society combat multiple sclerosis.
Chapter spokeswoman Juliann Fritz said the ride, also known as Harmons Best Dam Bike Ride, will be based out of the Cache County Fairgrounds. Riders may cover up to 175 miles over the course of the weekend.