Jim Hadley's newest aspiration is to stand atop the awards platform with a gold medal hanging from his neck - won in the luge competition at the 1998 Winter Olympics held in Salt Lake City.
"I hope so," said Hadley, already a master of humble understatement and a 13-year-old Kaysville resident.Hadley and 15 other young athletes were chosen to travel to Calgary, Canada, this November to participate in a U.S. Luge Association clinic that could ultimately lead to some of them competing in future Olympic Games.
Olympic backers announced the selection of the youths at a downtown Salt Lake hotel Friday morning as a means of thrusting the state's bid for the 1998 Winter Olympics into the public eye.
Utah voters will have a chance to vote yes or no on a Utah bid for the Olympics during a Nov. 7 non-binding Olympic referendum. Passage of the referendum would mean construction of a bobsled-luge run would begin in December 1990.
"I hope that by Nov. 7, the people of this state are going . . . to give a vote of confidence to the young athletes here today," said Tom Welch, chief executive officer of the Salt Lake Winter Games Organizing Committee.
The 16 Utah athletes will travel to Calgary to train on the luge at the site of the 1988 Winter Olympics with 45 other U.S. athletes. The U.S. Luge Association will choose 30 of those competitors to travel to Lake Placid, site of the 1980 Winter Games, for further training.
Those who excel could be eligible to join the association's Junior Development Team and work their way up to the Senior National Team and perhaps compete in an Olympic Games, said U.S. Luge Coach Dmitry Feld.
"Hopefully, one day when they have luge run here, these kids will be sliding on that hill," Feld said in his native Russian accent.
Utah Olympics organizers have proposed two possible Summit County sites on which to build a bobsled-luge run with $56 million in public money if Utahns pass November's Olympic referendum.
The luge association has won extensive sponsorship support from 3M, which sponsored a Salt Lake luge clinic in August.
While Utah organizers are hopeful they can obtain corporate sponsorship for several Olympic facilities now partially funded with public funds, they likely won't get any from 3M.
"We have really provided our funding for the (luge) association. I do not honestly see 3M corporate funding for the construction or the maintenance for this facility," said Thomas Ray, 3M communications member from Salt Lake City.
S.L. to host sledders group
Salt Lake City will host the 1990 International Luge Federation Congress, an event that Utah Olympic organizers say will boost Salt Lake City's bid for the 1998 Winter Olympics.
The federation, which governs luge competition throughout the world, will bring roughly 100 delegates from 28 countries to participate in the congress, Utah Sports Foundation Director Dave Johnson told reporters Friday.
"What this will do is bolster the image of our bid," Johnson said. Federations like the luge group play a role in Olympic bids because their needs hold sway within the International Olympic Committee, which will choose a 1998 Games host city in 1991.