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CURATOR’S NOTE- Since 1992 Dr. John Speca has traveled as medical support for a number of USST teams and competitions. This email from him gives a little history:
I’ve been a team doc starting with jumpers in 92 til 99 then NoCo. My wife, Debbie, has been “part of the team” for about 10 years and in 2009 spent Valentine’s Day, her birthday, and our 30th wedding anniversary tailoring the new NoCo suits that were purchased for the World Championships the following week in Liberec Czech Republic. All she asked in return was that Billy Demong make the podium, which he did- winning the event held on Debbie’s birthday. She describes it as “plane fare for skier trip $1800, meals and hotel, $1500, having Billy Demong win a race for your birthday, Priceless!” He had not yet won his gold but his was gold in my wife’s eyes.
Let me also say, It has been my pleasure to work with so many of the athletes, coaches, wax techs and host docs and local EMT’s through the years.“
The event below occurred on the same trip to Klingenthal.
Debbie Speca in Klingingthal 2009 making suit alterations while Johnny Spillane looks on. In all she altered 7 suits for the Nordic combined team on a sewing machine that husband John had borrowed from a Japanese coach who owed him a favor.
My wife and I were driving from Prague to Klingenthal to meet up with the team. We were following the Garmin for our directions. It took us past the ski jumps and had us turn up a road that was dark. I told her that I’ve been in Gasthsuses that were off the beaten path before, so no big deal. As we drove up the snow covered road, the car slipped and got stuck. Luckily, after several attempts, we got free. Undaunted, I then continued up the hill to follow the Garmin, again, reassuring my wife that the team was probably up ahead somewhere in the dark. After a few more feet, the car got stuck again and it was not moving. My wife could not drive manual transmission and so she couldn’t push. We noticed a car full of people in the parking lot below. I approached them and only one of the four could speak English. They had come from Denmark. The only one in their group who could drive manual outweighed me by 50 pounds, so naturally, since he was helping us, he got to drive and I got to push with the others. Needless to say, we got nowhere. Thank goodness we have mobile phones now. A phone call to Dave Jarrett found that Chris Gilbertson was on his way to the jump to pick up the recently delivered jump suits (see, it was the same trip as the other story) so he would help us. We could not get the car to budge.
We put our luggage in the ski team van & he brought us to the actual hotel which was not up in the darkness ahead, but in another town in the opposite direction. After dinner and meeting new team athletes and seeing our old friends again, we took some shovels from the hotel and about 6 skiers back to our car. After a little shoveling, the team lifted it out of the snow and we were back in the driver’s seat and moving. USSA Auto Service is now highly recommended by me and my wife.