The Park City-based U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association will be honored by state officials for its "extraordinary efforts and accomplishments in Olympic sport and its contributions to establishing Utah as the 'State of Sport.' "
The USSA will be recognized April 16 as the "Team Utah" partner of the year at the second annual Governor's State of Sport awards lunch.
In addition, a Lifetime Achievement award will be presented to banker and philanthropist Spencer F. Eccles, a leading figure in Utah's hosting of the 2002 Winter Olympics. And 18-year-old Park City resident Sarah Hendrickson will be recognized as "Olympian of the Year" for winning the women's ski jumping world championship in February.
Gov. Gary Herbert called the USSA "a tremendous asset to Utah's sport and business community" in a news release announcing the award. "Its Center of Excellence training and education facility [in Park City] attracts top athletes to our state. The events they bring to Utah provide significant economic impact and exposure."
The Center for Excellence opened in 2009 and was credited with helping the USSA's strong showing at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Since the Salt Lake Games in 2002, the USSA also has been instrumental in high-caliber competitions coming to the state, including a Freestyle World Cup held annually at Deer Valley Resort and Grand Prix competitions for snowboarders and boardercross riders at Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Resort.
"The events the USSA brings to Utah provide a tremendous boost to our economy and media exposure throughout the world," Utah Sports Commission President Jeff Robbins said in the release. "Our partnership with the USSA has been a key factor in leveraging our sports infrastructure to continue to bring top winter sporting events and athletes to our state."
USSA President Bill Marolt praised the state for its "great legacy of supporting Olympic athletes with world-class venues," adding he "is proud to call Utah home and appreciative of the community support our athletes receive in the spirit of Olympism."
The Sports Commission also will present fan-voted awards in nine categories representing high school, college and professional athletics. Votes may be cast until midnight April 9 at http://www.stateofsportsawards.com.
O Utah fans may vote at http://www.stateofsportsawards.com for the state's top sports figures in nine categories.