Coming down from an Olympic high | SierraSun.com

Coming down from an Olympic high

Katja Dahl, guest columnist

I am suffering from a little bit of P.O.B. — Post-Olympics Blues.

The Olympic mood, the excitement, the solidarity and the feeling of being a part of something incredibly special is fading away, and for that I am sad.

My trip to Salt Lake City ranks right up there as one of the most exciting, fun, rewarding and proud experiences of my life. My appreciation of the games comes in many forms E as a friend of some competitors, an American, a Tahoe resident, as an ex-ski racer, as a ski resort employee, as a tourist and as a sports fan.

I was most touched and inspired by my experience as a friend of two special athletes. Words cannot begin to explain the energy, camaraderie and excitement of the Super-G race.

We gathered, a large group of Tahoe friends and family, and we watched nervously and anxiously as our friends Daron Rahlves and Marco Sullivan poured their hearts and souls out on the mountain. We watched as they charged through every turn. We cheered and screamed with the rest of the 30,000 spectators and waved our American flag as they crossed the finish line.

Daron and Marco may not be bringing any medals home, but there was no question how proud we all were of how well they skied and how eloquently they handled the pressure. They are better racers and people simply for having been there and that is what we celebrated when the race was over.

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As an ex-ski racer I understand the true dedication and commitment that it takes to become an Olympic athlete. I felt great delight in being able to watch my friends enjoy all the many special moments that competing in the Olympics afforded them.

I smiled each time they were approached in the street for an autograph and I was pleased every time they were congratulated on a job well done. I was happy to see the world cheer for my friends, for the sacrifices and determination that it took to make it to the starting gate and for the heartfelt performances that they gave. They are a true inspiration to us all.

As an American, I was proud to share in the outpouring of support by people from across our nation. There is something very special about being in a crowd of 30,000 people all chanting “USA!” As a Tahoe resident I was also very proud that so many local athletes were participating and representing our region and our country with such pride and respect.

As a ski resort employee that has helped plan and work on large events, as a tourist and as a sports fan that enjoys attending events I applaud Salt Lake City, Park City and all the towns in-between for putting on an excellent event.

While I listened to the horror stories and expected the worst, what I experienced at the Olympics was a carefully organized and extremely well orchestrated series of activities and events. We planned ahead, waited in fast moving lines, breezed through security, took timely shuttles and were greeted along the way by energetic, friendly and helpful volunteers and staff.

The reason for the trip was to watch Daron and Marco go for the gold. Unfortunately, gold was not in the cards this time around but I’m not worried. They are talented, dedicated and driven athletes and their day will come. I just hope I am there to see it.

Katja Dahl is an employee at Squaw Valley USA.