It's been nearly two months since the torch was lit to kick off the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and almost one month since the Paralympic Games began. Now that those U.S. Olympians and Paralympians are finally back on U.S. soil (and not touring the night show circuit, completing media obligations or finishing up the World Cup circuit) and winding down their ski seasons just like the rest of us, it's time for some homecoming celebrations.
Or at least that's how Park City rolls. The Utah ski town organized a homecoming parade and celebration to honor the Olympians and Paralympians that live, train and coach there. That celebration was held on Park City's historic Main Street on Saturday, April 5.
The parade and celebration ran from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Stein Eriksen, 1952 Olympic gold medalist in alpine skiing and a long-time Park City resident, served as the parade's grand marshal. The parade featured Olympians and Paralympians along with local youth athletes from the Youth Sports Alliance Teams and the Get Out & Play Program.
After supporting Park City's homegrown Olympic talent, there was a celebration for the entire community that featured live music, food, beverages and a fireworks show. The Olympians who participated in the parade were available to meet and greet fans, residents and visitors for autographs and photos as well.
More than 20 Olympians and Paralympians were expected to participate including five medalists who call Park City home:
- Joss Christensen, who won gold in freeskiing
- Steve Holcomb, who won two bronze medals in bobsled
- Sage Kotsenburg, who won gold in snowboarding
- Ted Ligety, who won gold in alpine skiing
At the Sochi Olympic Winter Games, Park City was well represented on the medal stand, with athletes based there taking home three gold medals, two silver and three bronze for Team USA. Park City-based Olympians included athletes who grew up in town, or moved to Park City to use its top-notch venues and coaching. The Park City/Summit County-area sent 63 athletes, 48 Olympians and 15 Paralympians, to Sochi for the Winter Games.