Mud, Sweat and Cheers: Olympic Day a Hit with Valley Youth

Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation’s fifth annual Olympic Day celebration was deemed the “Gauntlet and Games” and did not disappoint 100 enthusiastic participants ages 7 to 17.
The brainchild of SVSEF coaches and staff, the Gauntlet of Games featured 10 stations designed to test and challenge teams, physically and mentally, to utilize teamwork and cooperation and pump up the fun factor.

Out of the starting gate

Olympic Day is an annual worldwide celebration of the Olympic movement which promotes an active and healthy lifestyle based on three pillars of sport: Move, Learn and Discover. SVSEF’s Olympic Day was one of hundreds staged throughout the nation and world attended by thousands of people.
The event was open to all children ages 7 to 18 in the valley and they showed up ready to rock and roll. Team Wright sported custom made orange T-shirts with their names emblazoned on them. The Smegies were tattooed their team name on any and all bare skin, and The Dream Crushers were outfitted in wild socks and head bands. There was even a purple team that jogged in, reminiscent of the Purple Cobras in “Dodgeball.”
Harnessing some teamwork

20 teams of five athletes navigated an air bag crossing, pond crossing on paddle boards, pulled a sled and teammates up a dirt road, navigated a mud bug, hopped through tire course, dodged a dusty color highway, fired bb guns at balloons, ran past a fire hose up a hill, ripped down a slip-n-slide, climbed over a wall and scrambled through a maze.
The winning team in the 14-over category consisted of Carter Sammis, Nico Gaggero, Shaw McCoubrey and Sebi Radl-Jones. Second place went to Blake Bathum, Ethan Marx, Ridge Dirksmeier and Jett Carruth.
In the 13-under category, first place was Dylan Prabowo, Teddy Hobbs, Audrey Smith, Reece Walther-Porino, and Nico Lerner. Second place went to Anton Holder, Avery Burrell, Dawson Speth, Braxon Dale and Lilli Peck, aka The Dream Crushers.
Johnny G’s Subshack donated gift certificates to the winning teams. Wrapcity certificates were given to second-place participants. Most Inspirational went to “Team Wright” with siblings and cousins, James, Henry, Adam, Emily and Caroline Wright.
SVSEF alum and Olympic snowboarder Chase Josey with SVSEF athletes

“Having been a part of this event for five years, moving the format to adventure racing and a teamwork-oriented experience is an amazing theme. It was dirty, gritty, challenging and fun,” said incoming executive director Scott McGrew. “The kids had to work together to complete all the tasks and, ultimately, that it at the heart of our SVSEF Olympic Day event.”
Adding pomp and circumstance to the festivities were local Olympians Chase Josey (2018-SVSEF), Reggie Crist (1992-SVSEF), Jonna Mendes (1998/2002) and current SVSEF alpine director Will Brandenburg (2010).
SVSEF would like to thank the following individuals and businesses for their support of SVSEF, the youth of our community, and making Olympic Day a resounding success: Jonna Mendes, Reggie Crist, Will Brandenburg, Chase Josey, Hank Dart, Sofia DeWolfe, Jose Guerecaechevarria, Keith Keim, Johnny G’s Subshack, Wrapcity, Taqueria Al Pastor, Backwoods Mountain Sports, Morgan’s Fine Finishes, Community School, Sun Valley Fire Department, SVSEF coaches, staff and Gold Team members.
All photos by Hank Dart.