SVSEF Athletes Get in the Spirit at Olympic Day
At six feet, four inches, Dick Fosbury towers above the group of SVSEF athletes as they prepare for Olympic Day festivities. In contrast to his stature as an Olympic gold medalist, the words he shares are relatable and down to earth. Fosbury recounts the history of the Olympics, and explains that the spirit of the Games – which have persisted despite various forms of unease and tension afflicting the people and countries of this world – is what underlies the celebration of Olympic Day. The event has taken place each year since 1948, with the intention of promoting fitness, well-being and culture for youth across the United States and the world. Friendship, excellence and respect are championed in the kids’ activities and games, just as they are in the competitions that take place on the world stage.
Joining Olympian Dick Fosbury last Friday, who won gold in the 1968 Summer Olympics in the high jump with his famed “Fosbury Flop,” was fellow local Olympian Reggie Crist. Crist raced in the men’s downhill in the 1992 Winter Olympics and was critical in the development of the sport of ski cross.
Sixty SVSEF athletes converged on the Community School’s Sagewillow Farm premises for games and competitions. Divided into nine teams named after local Olympians and Paralympians, including Kaitlyn Farrington, Picabo Street, Christin Cooper, Graham Watanabe, Gretchen Fraser, Susie and Pete Patterson, Muffy Davis, Crist and Fosbury, athletes tackled a total of 13 relay challenges with fervor and enthusiasm. Across the field and back, athletes balanced eggs on spoons, jump roped, ran in alpine boots and skillfully coordinated human conveyor belts and leap frog. Much liberty was taken as far as rules and regulations were concerned, but it was all in good fun. As is tradition, the relays ended with a full-fledged pie fight; not an athlete emerged from the battle unscathed.
The John R. Kalik True North awards were presented to three SVSEF student-athletes in accordance with Olympic Day. The award is given in honor of John R. Kalik, who was passionate about the area, the outdoors and living life fully. John passed away in a 1980 plane crash at the age of 24.
Alpine Program Director Scott McGrew beautifully articulated the meaning and significance of this award. “Tenacity, grit, and perseverance are core values that come from this journey and the True North is a way for us to acknowledge, celebrate and inspire those values throughout our community. At times the seas are rough and we lose our way through life’s storms. The True North serves as a metaphor to help us navigate the challenges that life presents; core values don’t change with circumstances…that is the spirit of the award and a representation of our heart as an organization.”
Athletes must be a rising junior or senior to have been considered for the award, and recipients were chosen based on an essay they wrote addressing the topic, “What have you learned about yourself as a member of SVSEF and how is this important in your day-to-day life?”
Recipients will receive half off tuition for the upcoming season, along with an engraved True North compass, courtesy of Anne Kalik, John’s sister. This year’s recipients were Hanna Blackwell (freestyle/freeskiing/snowboarding), Kirsys Campbell (nordic) and Noah Leininger (alpine). Hanna is a member of the Freeskiing A Team and will be a junior at Wood River High School this coming fall. Kirsys will also be a junior and skis on the Nordic Comp Team. Noah skis on the Alpine FIS Team and will be a senior this year.
SVSEF athletes Noah Leininger and Hanna Blackwell receive the John R. Kalik True North Award from Interim Executive Director Sam Adicoff. Missing from the photo is the third recipient, Kirsys Campbell, who was unable to attend.
Anne Kalik left the award recipients with a few words to remember. “To the three athletes who received the True North awards today, it seems if you have found some inner compass deep inside: a light to guide you to become your best, true self. Congratulations and may it always be so!”
We’d like to thank all of our athletes who participated and their parents, as well as Anne Kalik, photographer Glen Allison, Lutz Rental, Color Haus, Albertson’s, Olympians Dick Fosbury and Reggie Crist, SVSEF Gold Team athletes and coaches and staff for their help in putting on a successful day of games and good fun.