Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sustain Blaine close to Olympic application

Despite delay, application almost complete


By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer

Sustain Blaine had hoped to complete its application for Olympic certification as the first U.S. Nordic skiing training site by now, but an organization spokesman said successful Nordic events in the valley actually delayed the process.

"We had a really good winter of Nordic events, so a lot of the people we needed to give us input were already really busy," said spokesman Evan Lawler.

For example, the Sun Valley Nordic Festival drew 3,300 participants in February, up almost 50 percent from last year's premiere event.

The Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, the Blaine County Recreation District and Sun Valley Co. were heavily involved with organizing that event. Lawler said Sustain Blaine is now waiting on last-minute feedback on its application from those organizations.

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"We are really close," he said, adding that the 30-page application is in its "final draft stages" and would likely be submitted before the end of the month.

The economic development group began the process of applying last year, with the goal of completing the application by April 2011. However, there is no deadline and no set time frame for when the Olympic Committee will approve or deny the request.

While the country has 10 U.S. Olympic-certified training sites, including two for winter sports, Sun Valley would be the first certified site for Nordic skiing.

Sustain Blaine leaders have repeatedly stated that official certification would boost the valley's economy by bringing in Olympic sponsors, athletes and families.

Katherine Wutz: kwutz@mtexpress.com




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