Ok, the Olympics. That once-at regular intervals zenith of games when American competitors who normally work in relative obscurity all of a sudden have a place, if not to the world, at that point to various schools, urban areas and states.
On Friday we got an email from a daily paper in Idaho. It was looking for photographs of Caitlin and Scott Patterson, the Anchorage kin who prior that day were named to the Olympic crosscountry ski group. Scott was 13 and Caitlin was 15 when the Pattersons moved from Idaho to Anchorage 13 years back. Yet, in the realm of the Olympics, they have a place with Idaho, since they were conceived there, spent their initial a very long time there and figured out how to ski there.
They have a place with Anchorage as well, since they went to center school and secondary school here, they sharpened their ski abilities here, they won secondary school Skimeister crowns here. What’s more, they have a place with Vermont, where both Pattersons went to the University of Vermont and where Caitlin still lives. (Scott lives, works and prepares in Anchorage.)
Every place wants an Olympian it can call its own. Remember 1994, when Tommy Moe touched off a tug-of-war between Palmer and Girdwood, which each claimed the two-time medalist as a hometown hero? So did Missoula, Montana, where Moe skied as a little boy.
The newspaper in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, includes snowboarder Rosie Mancari on its list of hometown athletes. She’s on our list too. Mancari was born and raised in Anchorage, graduated from South High, had an after-school job at Sea Galley and still calls Anchorage home.
But after she graduated she moved to Steamboat Springs to train with a snowboarding club there. So Mancari is an Olympian with two hometowns. And since this is an Olympic year and everyone wants to identify with an Olympian, a third or fourth hometown may emerge between now and the Opening Ceremonies on Feb. 9.
The same day we heard from the Idaho newspaper, we received emails from UAF and the Alaska Winter Stars. Both heralded the Olympic selection of the same skier — Tyler Kornfield, whose affiliations include the Winter Stars, where he developed as a young skier; Service High, where he was one of the state’s best high school skiers; UAF, where he skied collegiately; and the Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center, where he currently trains.