On Tuesday, the U.S. Olympic Committee threw a party in Times Square to celebrate the 100 day countdown to the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. (Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY (Oct. 31) – On Tuesday, the U.S. Olympic Committee threw a party to celebrate the 100 day countdown to the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. The venue? Times Square. U.S. Ski Team, U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing athletes were out in full force, showing their Olympic spirit both at the Times Square event and at the New York Gold Medal Gala, the USSA's largest fundraising event.
The day began bright and early with several athletes appearing on the Today Show and continued into the evening, when musician Gavin DeGraw put on a free show. In between, athletes signed autographed and demonstrated their sports to fans on jumps and rails brought to Times Square for the event.
“It’s awesome to see all the support for the athletes,” snowboarder Chas Guldemond said, “The excitement is building! It’s awesome to be able to be snowboarding here in New York City.”
The demonstrations, set up by Park City Mountain Resort and Powder Corp., brought tricks from the mountain into the urban core of the city.
“It’s just like a melting pot of every different culture and language in New York City,” freeskier Gus Kenworthy said, “It’s cool to be able to showcase what we do to all these people and hopefully garner a bunch of attention and awareness of our sports and ourselves as athletes before the Games.”
With only 100 days until the Games begin, many of the athletes participating were also preparing for the beginning of competition season.
“It's so great to be here in New York City to celebrate with all the other athletes as we hit an important milestone,” nordic combined Olympic Champion Billy Demong, who roller skied with Matt Lauer to kick off the day, said, “Right now, we’ve started transitioning and are at this turning point between a successful training season and competition season. It's a good breaking point as we all prepare to hit the road.”
The day presented athletes with a variety of opportunities. The newly-minted U.S. Olympic SportsMan of the Year, Ted Ligety, received his award from the USOC. Lindsey Vonn, fresh off of a Monday Today Show appearance, was featured as a guest on Late Night with David Letterman. The following day, athletes celebrated 100 days to the Olympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony at the New York Gold Medal Gala.
One of the highlights for many athletes, though, was the chance to meet and share their excitement with athletes from other sports.
“I look up to all of these Olympians a lot,” ski jumper Sarah Hendrickson said, “So, it's really cool to be involved in these activities with them and meet a bunch of athletes that we don't get to see that much.”
For others, the enthusiasm surrounding the day’s festivities was a preview of things to come.
“There’s a lot of positive energy,” freestyle aerialist Dylan Ferguson said, “That’s what the Olympics are all about—bringing athletes together to represent their country. It’s amazing to bring everyone together and feel that energy that we’re going to feel when we walk into the Opening Ceremony.”
For freeskiing athletes, the excitement began a day early. The night before the USOC’s celebration, The North Face hosted an event to unveil the Olympic freeskiing uniforms. The uniforms, produced in the United States, are meant to be a celebration of the rebellious American spirit.
“I’m really impressed with The North Face uniforms,” slopestyle skier Nick Goepper said, “They’re super stylish and you can definitely tell that they really took in the athlete input. I’m pretty stoked to wear them at the Olympics.”