The Olympic team is more than just the Olympians…Those of you who are somewhat removed from the actual process of preparing for an Olympic Games would probably be shocked at just how much work goes into this. The processes used to qualify for and then compete to be selected for the team are complex and grueling. Beyond that there are dozens and dozens of other requirements, everything from logistics planning to move athletes, boats and equipment, to intensified anti-doping controls, to providing media and PR training for potential Olympians, responding to an endless stream of media and sponsor inquires and much more.
This puts a great deal of strain on the coaches and staff at USACK during the months leading up to the Olympic Games. A very important role played in the preparation for the Games is that of Team Leader. This year, Angela Lokken is serving as team leader for Slalom and Cliff Meidl for Sprint. These two volunteers were selected by the respective Slalom and Sprint Selection Committees of our Board in 2007. They have already done a tremendous amount of work to help us get ready for the Games.
Angela is a long-time volunteer leader in Slalom in addition to being a mother to multiple slalom athletes. Her husband Eric will also be in Beijing serving as a member of the officiating squad selected by ICF for the Olympic Slalom Competition. In the infrequent times that one or the other is not on the road, they make their home in Durango, CO.
Cliff is a two-time Olympian and received the honor of being selected to carry the US flag in the Opening Ceremonies of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. He is passionate about the Olympic movement and is an inspirational speaker having overcome significant physical challenges to reach the highest level in his sport. Cliff resides in Los Angeles.
Both Angela and Cliff are also members of the USACK Board of Directors. I should also point out the President of our Board, Gina Sanchez, will also be serving as an official during the sprint competition in Beijing.
As you cheer for our USACK athletes during the Olympic Games, please keep in mind that for each one, there is an excited team of friends and family in the stands and at home as well as many others coaching, supporting and serving in a myriad of ways to make this all possible. It takes an “Olympic” village to make an Olympian.