Friday, February 26, 2010


This week at the Olympics something very special happened for me, Sunnyside Sports, the USA and of course all of the skiers who have ever skied for the USA in Nordic Combined. Four very special skiers won the silver in the Nordic combined event, earlier in the week Johnny Spillane won a silver in the normal hill individual event with Bill Demong and Todd Lodvick in 4th and 6th, and yesterday Bill Demong won the Gold in the large hill, with Johnny Spillane the silver. This is huge. The first Gold ever for the USA in any Nordic event. Before this year the USA had won only one nordic medal ever, Bill Koch's silver in 1976. This year the USA won four medals.
Why the personal connection. Well back in the day, the 70's to be exact, Bend had it's own Olympian, Mike Devecka. Mike was a friend of the store and we helped him out more than once with his Olympic career. If you look in the photo you will see 4 bibs from 4 Olympics. He skied on his own the last years of his career. The US ski team wanted younger skiers, he just happened to be the best in US so we helped raise some money to get him to Europe to compete. Later in live he became a bike racer, a father to another Olympian and now he lives in Colorado. Still a friend and still comes by when he is in town. We followed the Olympics back then hoping that Mike would have the luck, the wax and the strength to win an Olympic medal. He never did but he still had a great career.
Years later (the 90s now), I was invited to Steamboat Springs to watch a Nordic Combined World Cup. I had never seen one before and was quite excited to see the event my good friend Mike did all those years. It was quite fun to watch, but the interesting thing was there was a young group of Americans there, Billy Demong, and Todd Lodvick among them. They did quite well for being so young and we were all sure the future was there.
But Nagano, Salt Lake City and Torino didn't pan out as expected no medals. Vancouver has changed all that. This is not a miracle on snow story, this is a story of hard work and our racers becoming the best in the world. They were not underdogs they were favorites.
If you watched last night you may have noticed the US skiers had some pretty long jumps. The weather then changed and some of the other good skiers did not even come close. The US team had the luck this year. I have seen events where the same has happened to the US team. This is an outdoor sport. So we had the luck, the fast wax and fast skies and the athletes who have really put in the time to become the best in the world.
I have followed these guys for 15 years and it is so cool to see these guys do what Mike tried to do all those years ago. Mike should be proud and so should all of those athletes that came before. I don't really care about a dynasty, I just think it is cool that a sport that has been so special to me and to Sunnyside Sports has had the exposure on the TV and that all that hard work has payed off.

1 comment:

Gary Bonacker said...

Nice job Don. i sent tis blog to Mike and Denise.