Vail Daily letter: Amazing World Champs
To all involved in the Vail/Beaver Creek 2015 World Ski Championships:
So many thanks are owed to so many people that I don’t know where to begin. The saying “it takes a village” is an understatement here. It’s mind boggling to me the foresight and planning it must have taken that led to the incredibly exciting fan experiences throughout the Vail/Beaver Creek/Avon communities. I am proud of my gold medal, but I am far more proud of the absolutely incredible job you all did to make this event by far the classiest, best World Champs anyone has ever seen. I cannot tell you how much praise the World Ski Championships received from the athletes and fans alike. It seemed that there was something for everyone.
On a more personal note, I want to thank all of you for treating me as a special person out there. Every time I turned around someone was calling out “Good luck, Mikaela” and making me feel like the hometown/home-state/home-nation fans were pulling for me. That sense of support gave me the strength to overcome nerves and get the job done on race day, as much to pay back my supporters as for myself. From giving me a special place to be quiet on race day to providing passes for family members to view the events, I felt like not only did the United States Ski and Snowboard Association and U.S. Ski Team, but especially the World Ski Championships committee and of course the Vail Valley Foundation in particular, went above and beyond to look after me, and that made a difference to me.
When I was standing on the awards stage next to Frida Hansdotter Saturday night, she told me she could not believe the crowd that had shown up for the awards! She was incredulous at the enthusiasm in the U.S. for skiing. She thought it was so cool as did all of the other athletes. Then, I was talking on Saturday to a ski racing insider from Austria about the incredible fan participation at World Ski Championships, and his comment was, “The USA fans here are better.” When you consider that Europe, and Austria in particular, are the base for ski racing, that statement is truly remarkable. But the numbers were big because of the outstanding job you all did promoting the event and then following that up with unreal execution of all the details it takes to put on a first-class World Champs.
Two years ago, when I attended one of the initial meetings in Beaver Creek after Schladming, I said to my mom, “Oh boy, this is going to be a big undertaking — I don’t know how they are going to do it.” But thank God (Vail Valley Foundation President) Ceil (Folz) and apparently everyone else involved has the passion and energy of the Duracell Bunny, because you all must have been working 24/7 since then to make this happen. I cannot thank you all enough.
I am so sad it’s over already and now I am already back in Europe finishing out the season. I guess we will all have somewhat of a letdown now, but let it be known to all of the workers who supported this event that I will be thinking of you through the rest of the season and hoping you can reflect on those two weeks with the pride that I do.
My dad reminded of the apropos saying, “I alone can do it, but I can’t do it alone,” so please accept my heartfelt and sincerest gratitude for making those two weeks of World Championships so memorable.
So hats off to everyone. Congratulations!