Olympic skiers help build Utah communityTweet
On Saturday (May 29) a group of more than 20 American Olympic skiers, snowboarders and speed skaters joined Team For Tomorrow and Habitat for Humanity to work on a Magna, Utah neighborhood being prepared for needy families.
The athletes, who live and train in nearby Park City, exchanged their speed suits and skis for shovels and garden hoes to give back to the community that supported them as they achieved record success at Vancouver Games this February.
“I’ve had plenty of training, my dad always put a shovel in my hand or a lawn mower,” said alpine skier Steven Nyman, who grew up working for his father’s landscaping business. “I’m feeling very youthful today – my back isn’t though.”
Nyman, a Utah native, was more than happy to get his hands dirty and fight allergies all day to support the community that has supported him through two Olympic appearances.
“A really cool part about this project, and a lot of the homes in this Habitat for Humanity area, is that a lot of the materials that were donated to help build this came from Olympic venues and buildings,” said Nyman, who is a Team for Tomorrow ambassador. “They tore some things down and reused the materials to help build some of these homes.
“The whole purpose of Team for Tomorrow (a USOC initiative) is to give back to the community, because the Olympic team isn’t supported by the government, it’s supported by the people so we are giving back to them.”
The Olympians, joined by the future residents of the neighborhood, worked all day pulling weeds and building a retaining wall for a future park.
“I don’t consider myself extremely handy so it’s good they put me on landscaping duty,” joked 2006 Olympic gold medal skier Ted Ligety. “I think it’s really neat that 20 of us showed up today, that’s a big crew for just one city. It’s cool to come out into the community and help out.”
Moguls skier Heather McPhie was still burning with Olympic spirit four months after the close of the games.
“I just love that Olympics give so much to everyone, not just the people that compete, but it continues to give,” said McPhie. “There is this whole pay it forward thing that I really love about the Olympics.”
Click here to see a video of the day.