CEO USA Nordic Sport
I’ve been on a lot of different job interviews in my life but none of them quite prepared me for my final in-person interview with USA Nordic Sport. Generally, future employers take you and walk you around the office and show you a glimpse of what your day-to-day looks like — the conference room, the breakroom, or the other amenities to impress you. Imagine my surprise when I arrived at the Utah Olympic Park (UOP) in Park City believing that I was going to the offices to meet some of the employees and instead dressed in my nicest suit I’m escorted up the chair lift to see the Olympic Jumps that still display the 2002 Winter Olympics insignia. Remove the few awkward moments of people pointing at me in my suit and wondering why I was traveling up to the top of the hill, I was enthralled with the beauty. THIS was going to be my office.
After arriving at the top overlooking Park City and by the way holding the handrail, I was shown the ‘120 and ‘90 jumps. I couldn’t believe anybody of their own free will would compete in the sport voluntarily.
- Travel down a ramp going 60 mph without a seatbelt. No thank you.
- Soaring 700 ft without wings. I don’t think so.
- Free fall 20 stories without a parachute. Are you kidding me?
- And then, in some instances, compete in a 10k cross country race afterwards. Crazy.
In short, I was about to work with some of the bravest and toughest athletes I’d ever met. These men and women are real-life superheroes. Although I didn’t sign-up for Master Classes to become a Ski Jumper that day, I was all-in. I wanted to be part of the team to grow and advance these sports. I remember coming back home from my trip and showing my kids (Gwyneth 11 and Andrew 8) videos from YouTube on what Dad was going to do next and their faces of amazement and exclamations of “How” and “No Way” on what these athletes can do. They were hooked. We were now a Nordic Family.
Fast-forward five months, the passion for me for Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined have increased but I’m humbled by this community. These sports are HARD and our coaches, athletes and parents sacrifice a lot for their continued involvement. As a former high-level water polo player myself and someone who has worked in professional sports for more than 20 years, I understand the depth of behind the scenes grind that go into the privilege of representing your country in sport. The journey is just as important as the competition.
For the last 30 days, the Story Project (thank you to Jeff Hastings for steering this endeavor) has allowed Nordic Sport athletes and coaches to retell our days of celebration, remember their past mentors and loved ones, relive the days of pain and hardship and exaggerate their moments of glory and most importantly bask in the friendships they have made over the years.
As we go into the new year, I’m excited to celebrate new stories of journey and triumph. I am anxiously waiting to hear stories of the annual pilgrimage to Steamboat for 4th of July, the proud transition from the Bump Jump to the ’70, finishing out of breath at Soldier Hollow, celebrating making a Jr. Flyer team or witnessing your son or daughter do something they thought they couldn’t.
I’m so glad they let me come back down (on the chair lift) back in July and join you all at Nordic Sport. It’s an honor to represent Nordic Combined and Ski Jumping and be part of the community. Here’s to 2023.