Antonio Olivero: In goodbye to Summit, finding the thread of your sports stories from the past 4 years

Sports illuminated the merit of Summit’s individual champions, achievers and redeemers in a divisive time

Antonio Olivero was the sports and outdoors editor for the Summit Daily News from October 2017 through October 2021.
Liz Copan/Summit Daily New archive

I’ve written thousands of articles, filmed hundreds of videos and hosted dozens of podcasts for the Summit Daily News since I drove my Honda Civic across the country to find a Rocky Mountain home at an old hunting cabin in Heeney.

But these past four years have not been about me. They’ve been about you — the people who make Summit County what it is.

This column is my goodbye from a job and life experience I consider a blessing. So let’s remember just a handful of stories I’m grateful to have told and learned from:

Paul Kresge, left, is pictured during the Peak 1 Regatta on June 13, 2020, shortly before a boating accident that took his life.
Elaine Collins/Courtesy photo
Summit High School Tigers head coach Karl Barth talks with his team at halftime during the Summit 7s tournament Sept. 11 at Tiger Stadium in Breckenridge.
John Hanson/For the Summit Daily News
Breckenridge local and Breck Epic rookie Lasse Konecny rides Aug. 17 during the third stage of the six-day Breck Epic mountain bike race.
Liam Doran/Breck Epic
Mike Minor, of Frisco, skates at Frisco Skatepark in July 2020.
Antonio Olivero/Summit Daily News archive
Charlie Martin, center, prepares to launch the Project Airtime tandem adaptive wheelchair on a flight Sept. 25 from Williams Peak with passenger Teri Walker.
David Cudd/Courtesy photo
Grace Staberg ascends during the ski mountaineering girls sprint quarterfinal at the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games in January 2020.
Olympic Information Services/Courtesy photo
Red Gerard competes for Team Burton in the slopestyle snowboard team challenge Feb. 6, 2020, on Day 1 of Winter Dew Tour at Copper Mountain Resort.
Liz Copan/Summit Daily News archive
A skier sends a massive spread eagle at Fourth of July Bowl on Peak 10 at the fourth annual Peak 10 Classic on July 4.
Sage Vogt/Courtesy photo
Summit Clark, of Silverthorne, holds up a pair of silver medals he won in February 2020 at the Special Olympics Colorado State Winter Games at Copper Mountain Resort.
Heidi Clark/Courtesy photo

That’s just the tip of the iceberg of the stories I’m proud to have shared. There’s many more that could also be listed above.

When thinking back through your stories, the thread I appreciate most is this: With each story, we humanized the people at the story’s core.

Why do I feel that’s so important? Because I think we are living in a time of divisive, destructive and depressing dehumanization. It’s a time of what I call “othering.” It’s the antithesis of America.

Sports does such a good job of providing the antidote to othering because it judges all of you — all of us — based on merit. That’s it. No superficial qualities or immutable characteristics used to preexamine or post-judge people and their accomplishments.

It’s just the individual. In each story, we celebrated him or her for being divine in their own right — whether a champion, achiever or redeemer.

They are all creators in the real world, not complainers in the online world.

When we told the stories of the special sports people in this county, it didn’t matter if they were lifelong locals or just got here. It didn’t matter if they voted for Biden or Trump. It didn’t matter if they were vaccinated or unvaccinated. It didn’t matter how much privilege they do or don’t possess. It didn’t matter how light or dark their skin tone. It didn’t matter if they chose to wear a mask or not. It didn’t matter if they were a boomer living in a second home or a millenial living in a van.

And because none of that mattered, they mattered. All of them — all of you the people.

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