* Winner: Nikki Stone brought honor to herself, Utah and the rest of the United States by capturing the gold medal in the women's aerial freestyle event. The Park City resident is the first Utahn to win a Winter Games gold medal. Almost as impressive as her athletic achievement was the joy she exuded during the medals presentation. As the gold medal was draped around her neck she clutched it and kissed it with a radiant smile. Then, as the U.S. national anthem began to play and the flag was being raised, she was overcome by emotion, tears framing her smile. Thanks, Nikki, for making your golden moment a golden one for a lot of other people as well.
Loser: While Nikki Stone was bringing honor to state and country, some U.S. hockey players were bringing disgrace to their country. Giving new meaning to the term "poor losers," they trashed their Olympic Village rooms the night after the U.S. team was eliminated by the Czech Republic. Ten chairs were broken, three fire extinguishers were emptied, and six of the chairs and a fire extinguisher were thrown from a fifth-floor apartment to a courtyard below. Fortunately no one was hurt in this totally uncalled for and unacceptable temper tantrum. The Japanese hosts were embarrassed. The ones who should have been were the hockey players. Those guilty of such horrendous conduct should be banned from the next Olympic Games.* Winner: Motherhood was honored when Joan Erickson of Perry, Box Elder County, was selected as Utah Mother of the Year. There were many fine candidates, and judges had a difficult time selecting the winner. Erickson's philosophy on raising children would serve all parents well: "Parents have a solemn responsibility to provide a place of safety for their children, where their physical and spiritual needs are met, and where they feel loved, accepted, respected and cherished." Mothers like Erickson make their communities a better place to live.
Loser: In life there were those who couldn't leave Princess Diana alone, and that also appears to be the case in death. Both British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former Prime Minister John Major expressed concern this week about the industry that has grown up around the Princess of Wales' death, calling it "inappropriate and tacky." Their concern centers on the widespread sale of Diana-related memorabilia, books and films, much of which Major says is "shoddy." He could have been referring to an Internet computer game that allows players to drive a speeding Mercedes through a tunnel while being pursued by paparazzi on mortorbikes - simulating the car crash in which Diana died. It's time to let the dead rest.