Silverthorne celebrates local Olympic and Paralympic athletes
It’s not in every town where your neighbor may be an Olympic or Paralympic athlete, but in Silverthorne it is starting to turn into a common occurrence.
A total of four Silverthorne-based athletes competed in the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing, China this past winter. On Tuesday, June 7, the Town of Silverthorne recognized these athletes’ accomplishments by hosting a celebration at Bluebird Market.
Among the athletes present were snowboard slopestyle and big air athlete Red Gerard and Paralympic snowboarders Garrett Geros and Zach Miller.
Silverthorne’s Chris Corning also competed at the 2022 Olympic Games alongside Gerard, but he was not able to make the celebration.
All four Summit locals have worked extremely hard over the last few seasons in order to secure their spots on the 2022 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams, so the town of Silverthorne wanted to let them know how proud residents were by hosting a celebration where the public could come out to get autographs and meet the athletes.
For Gerard it was his second Olympic Games, while for Geros and Miller it was their debut at the Paralympic Games.
At the Paralympic Games, Geros claimed the town’s only medal. He won a silver medal by placing second in the lower-limb 2 snowboard cross competition. Miller, who also competes in the lower-limb 2 classification, placed 11th in snowboard cross and then competed again in the banked slalom, where he placed 15th overall.
After a brief introduction by Paralympian Amy Purdy, who also is the co-founder of the Summit-based pro snowboarding group Adaptive Action Sports, the three athletes walked out to a crowd of excited children and professional snowboarding enthusiasts looking forward to meeting some of their favorite local athletes.
“It was great to see the families and kids in town have that mentor and role model to look up to that lives and breathes their same lifestyle,” Scott Vollmer with Bluebird Market said. “One of the other great moments was getting to meet them and having them see the Bluebird Market for the first time.
The celebration event also allowed the Bluebird Market to showcase its three new food concepts, which include Lucky Bird, Crepes a la Carte and Don’t Call Me Charlie’s. Crepes a la Carte and Don’t Call Me Charlie’s are currently open for business while Lucky Bird will open later this week.
For an entire hour, the athletes signed photos, hats, American flags and took photos with the town’s Olympic and Paralympic heroes.
While waiting to meet the three athletes, children worked on Olympic- and Paralympic-themed crafts, provided by The Frosted Flamingo, which included Olympic torches and medals.
Once in front of the athletes, the trio was attentive to the event’s attendees, taking time to learn the names of the individuals they were meeting and making a connection with wide-eyed children shocked to be standing in front of Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
Several children — and adults — were most awe-inspired by Geros’ shiny silver medal, which he allowed several kids to feel its weight and even wear around their necks.
Geros and Miller were even gifted two handmade gold medals by a group of children.
“One of my favorite parts was the kids that were there,” Zach Miller said. “It was cool to talk to them, get to know them and hear that a lot of them played sports. It was pretty cool to interact with a bunch of kids who are aspiring to be athletes.”
The celebration went beyond acknowledging the town’s local athletes. Additionally, the event opened the athletes’ eyes to how much they mean to the community and the impact they can have to the next generation of athletes.
“It’s good for them because we are just as much a part of the community as they are,” Miller said. “For us to interact with each other is big because it makes it a little bit closer. Silverthorne is a close-knit community. We get a lot of tourism, but everybody who lives here — it’s kind of a small town. To be able to interact with each other after events like that I think is big.”
All three athletes will spend the summer continuing to stay busy by lifting, skateboarding, climbing and traveling to other areas of the country before resuming snowboard competitions at the tail end of the year or at the very beginning of 2023.
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