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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

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For the week of Feb 5 - 12, 2002


Idaho’s own ‘Olympics’

Commentary by PAT MURPHY

The influx of world-class international Nordic skiers into the Sun Valley/Ketchum area to train for the Olympics was no accident or the result of dumb good luck.

Nope. A well-oiled campaign for Idaho and Sun Valley to become an important adjunct to the Salt Lake City Olympics was organized beginning five years ago.

That new Idaho auto license plate with the skier is the Idaho 2002 Committee’s idea. The plate has yielded $160,000 in three years—half for marketing Idaho as part of the Olympics, the other half to the Idaho Ski Areas Association.

In one of its canniest decisions, the committee hired Professor Lisa Delpy of George Washington University—a sports management expert who’s attended 11 Olympics to write a how-to book for Idaho on cashing in on the Salt Lake winter games.

That handbook led to other decisions—brochures about Idaho (and Sun Valley) as ideal training sites, and sent to federations; a visitor’s center in Salt Lake to increase international awareness of Idaho; tips for Idaho businesses on obtaining contracts for services and supplies to the Olympics.

In the end, Carl Wilgus of the Idaho Department of Commerce says that an estimated 10 percent of all Olympic competitors will have trained in Idaho—at least 200 of them in Sun Valley, according to Jack Sibbach, the Sun Valley Company’s rep on the committee.

And any number of businesses have picked up contracts in Salt Lake City.

One can only guess what benefits lie down the road for Sun Valley and Idaho because of the international teams who came, saw and found the area remarkable. Sibbach quoted several Scandinavian skiers as saying our cross-country trails here are superior to those in their part of the world.

And who knows how much of a boost the area will get if our hometown guy, Tim Ryan, a Sun Valley resident who’s announcing the Olympics for NBC television, slips in a plug or two about Sun Valley while hundreds of millions of viewers are watching the games around the world.

For the three weeks that most of these skiers from nearly a dozen countries were in our midst, it was quite a sight—and inspiring sight—to see their all-out morning workouts on the trails.

But Sun Valley offered an expected thrill for a couple of the Norwegians that had little to do with Olympic training.

Tor Arne Hetland and Anders Aukland were almost speechless about encountering a mountain lion on a Sun Valley trail ¾ an incident reported in Norway’s newspaper, Adresseavisen.

"The experience was so breathtaking that I could return to Norway straight away. I’ve had my Olympic experience already," Hetland was quoted as saying.


Americans will have to begin asking themselves whether they want to live in an armed camp under the guise of being protected by the government from harm.

The spectacle of overwhelming security at the Olympics and the Super Bowl and screening at airports resembles what international travelers have seen for years—heavily-armed Army troops, snipers on rooftops, pat-downs and searches, rigid rules on where people may walk and when.

Governments that protect citizens by gradually, relentlessly removing and reducing their freedom of movement and overseeing their movements and security with armed troops, are governments that soon control, not protect.

It may not be his intent, but President Bush’s constant rant that "we’re at war" and egging even tighter security on the nation has the inevitable result of scaring people into submitting to less freedoms.

Even in such an area so remote from the front lines of terrorism, Idaho’s legislators are prepared to vote reduced freedoms for its citizens in the name of security and at the request of Attorney General Alan Lance.

Beware of security so tight that government decides when and where it’s safe.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.