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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.
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For the week of February 13 - 19, 2002


Ketchum man joins Ukraine in Olympic ceremonies

Express Staff Writer

A Ketchum man found himself on the world’s stage Friday night as he joined the Ukrainian Olympic Team in the 2002 Winter Olympic opening ceremonies in Salt Lake City.

Chip Fisher. Express photo by Greg Stahl

Chip Fisher, a Ketchum businessman and chairman of the Idaho 2002 Committee, said joining the Urainians for the opening ceremonies was "the greatest honor of all."

"I don’t know if I can describe it," he told Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, Sen. Mel Richardson, R-Idaho Falls, and other members of the state’s Olympic committee during a brief meeting Monday in Salt Lake City.

"I think all of us who were in that stadium that night—you talk about these Olympic values and you have 25,000 people feeling the same way. I can’t describe it. It was extraordinary."

In 2000, Sun Valley Co. was contacted by Ukrainian Olympic Attaché Laryssa Temple, who had learned of Idaho’s interest in having international Olympic athletes train in Idaho.

The Ukrainians had only limited funds to train, but Sun Valley Co., Fisher, Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Nordic Coach Rick Kapala and others told Temple to plan on having the Ukrainians come to Sun Valley and not to worry about overbearing costs.

Sun Valley provided discounts and training facilities. Fisher arranged housing, and Kapala helped work on equipment and facilities.

The Ukrainians returned four times, most recently immediately prior to the Olympics. They rode a wagon in Ketchum’s 2001 Wagon Days Big Hitch Parade They included ice skaters, Nordic skiers and biathletes.

"It’s the people of the world promoting the athletes of the world," Temple said Monday in Salt Lake City. "And for the Ukraine, which is a third-world country with very good athletes, it was a godsend."

Temple said the Ukrainian team was thrilled to have Fisher join them for the opening ceremonies "because it was such a large part of what we did to prepare for these games."

Around Fisher’s neck hung Olympic credentials that essentially told the story. They indicated that he is a figure skating coach for the Ukraine, which enabled him to enter the athletes’ Olympic Village prior to the opening ceremonies. He said he plans to share the credentials with others who have helped.

"I’m just a manifestation of all that we’ve done," he told his colleagues on the Idaho 2002 Committee.

"It just makes my heart pound to think about that experience."


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.