Park City parade honors city’s Olympians, present and past
Apr 1, 2022, 10:17 PM | Updated: Apr 2, 2022, 1:23 am
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PARK CITY, Utah — It’s still a little early for parade season.
But in a town known for its champions, there could be a parade almost every day.
“The legacy they have here is amazing,” said Casey Dawson.
Dawson should know.
He’s from Park City and is now a part of the town’s Olympic Legacy after winning a speedskating Bronze Medal during the Beijing Games.
“It’s still setting in. I used to be the kid looking up at those guys like, wow, I can never achieve that. They’re the pinnacle of sport. And now I’m taking pictures with kids and signing autographs for kids who are looking up to me thinking the same way I used to,” Dawson said.
If Park City was a country, it would’ve come in 12th place between Canada and Japan during the 2022 Beijing Olympics in medal count.
Main Street in Park City was shut down for about an hour on Friday evening so people could come and cheer for their Olympians and Paralympians. And not just from the Beijing Games, but also from past Olympics.
“Yeah, I feel so fortunate to have grown up in Park City,” two-time Olympic Gold Medalist alpine skier Ted Ligety said. “This community is so supportive toward sports, but winter sports especially. It really is special here.”
The athletes say they sure could feel that support. Thousands of people were cheering, and the athletes heard them, which they say was nice after two Olympics where crowds weren’t allowed.
“It really is, like, an unreal feeling,” Shelby Jensen, who competed in the Tokyo Paralympics as a wheelchair fencer said. “They were cheering for all of us.”
That crowd even followed them to a stage just to hear what the athletes had to say.
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Park City had 55 Olympians and Paralympians here, including wrestling Gold Medalist Rulon Gardner, skiing Gold Medalist Picabo Street, and mogul’s skier Shannon Bahrke, who won a Silver Medal during the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympics. Many of them signed autographs and mingled with the crowd to thank them for their support.
“I can safely say that if I didn’t grow up here, with all the Olympic training facilities, I would not be at the level I’m at,” said Colby Stevenson, who won a Silver Medal in Freestyle Big Air during the Beijing Olympics.
Because of that support, athletes hoping to compete in the next Olympics say it makes them want to train even harder.
“So much love for this town,” Stevenson said to the crowd while he was on stage. “You guys are amazing.”