PARK CITY, UT – World Champion alpine skier Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) and Olympic silver medalist for nordic combined Brett Camerota (Park City, UT) became the first inductees into the Youth Winter Sports Alliance Hall of Fame during the Alliance’s annual Circle of Excellence Awards May 25 in Park City.
Based in Utah’s Summit and Wasatch counties, the YWSA involves over 1000 children in a variety of sports activities each winter through programs supported by their 13 local clubs and organizations. Both Ligety and Camerota have roots in YWSA programs through the Park City Ski Team and the Park City Nordic Ski Club.
“Each of our organizations nominated one of their former athletes for the Hall of Fame,” said YWSA Executive Director Aimee Preston. “The committee then chose Ted and Brett because of their outstanding athletic success and because they’ve become such amazing people who continue to support the club they grew up with. They’re just great examples for our young athletes.”
Olympic combined gold medalist in 2006 and recent 2011 World Champion for giant slalom, Ligety (pictured left) continues to stay closely connected to the Park City Ski Team. Young racers make the trek to Beaver Creek, CO for the Audi Birds of Prey race week each winter.
Last winter was especially a good time for all the young racers. After Ligety won the giant slalom in Beaver Creek, he took photographs and celebrated with his young fans. ”I remember being one of those kids trying to hang out with my heros,” Ligety said after showing the kids how to raise their arms in victory after coming across the Winter Park finish line. “It’s important to help them out. Maybe one or two of them will be the next big star on the U.S. Ski Team.” This win was the first of a three race win streak that eventually led Ligety to his third Audi FIS Alpine World Cup giant slalom title.
Camerota (pictured right), who spoke at the event, grew up with a view of the Utah Olympic Park. He got his own Olympic glory winning a silver medal in the team event at Vancouver. As a young skier with the Park City Nordic Ski Club, Camerota would go on to compete in three Junior World Championships in addition to two Olympics and World Championships. Now a student at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Camerota encouraged the young athletes to persist through discouraging times, citing a moment he considered giving up ski jumping after a huge crash.
The awards ceremony also honored 73 young athletes for their accomplishments throughout the winter and recognized Russ Coburn and Pete Dunmire for their outstanding commitment to volunteerism.
For more information on the YWSA and its programs, check out www.ywsa.org.