Some Olympics breathe their last at the closing ceremony. In Utah, they may never end.
Nathan Vanderklippe, The Globe and Mail, Feb. 3, 2023
There is a spot near the centre of the Utah Olympic Oval, on the carpet just behind the “I” in “The Fastest Ice on Earth” lettering laid below the ice. It was roughly here in 2002 that speedskater Derek Parra draped himself in the U.S. flag that had stood outside his grandfather’s porch until he died of cancer shortly before the Salt Lake City Winter Games.
The flag “was tattered, a little worn over the years,” Parra recalls. But “that was my flag that I took on my victory lap.” Watching from the stands was Parra’s father, there for the first time to see his son compete, only to witness him set a world record and take gold in the 1,500 metres.
“I remember stepping on the ice, where that coach is standing,” Parra says nearly 21 years later, pointing to Matt Kooreman, the long-track program director for the men’s U.S. speedskating team, who is presiding over a fast-paced practice. More...