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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of April 3 - 9 , 2002

  News

Paralympian Davis saluted

Baldy ski run renamed Muffyís Medals; Tuesday declared Muffyís Day


By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer

Paralympian Muffy Davis had more than a Sun Valley ski run named after her Tuesday afternoon. A string of state and local dignitaries handed her proclamations, plaques and congratulations. More than 100 people turned out to offer Davis congratulations. Gov. Dirk Kempthorne declared April 2 Muffy Davis Day.

Davis joined the ranks of three Olympic skiers and Wood River Valley residents: the late Gretchen Frasier, Christin Cooper and former training partner Picabo Street. Southern Comfort ski run on Seattle Ridge was renamed "Muffyís Medals" in honor of the three silver medals she brought home from the 2002 Paralympics in Salt Lake City.

"I canít imagine a better place to be than between Gretchen Frasier and Christin Cooper, two amazing women from this valley," Davis said "This is better than I ever dreamed it would be. Thank you so much for making my dreams come true.

"What a wonderful day. What a wonderful mountain. What a wonderful valley and community of people. Thanks."

Sun Valley Co. owner Earl Holding said it chokes him up to see Davisí indelible spirit.

"The most outstanding moment for me was the day I came out and hugged you and kissed you after you won your silver medal," Holding told Davis. "It was the highlight."

The run dedication Tuesday took place at the River Run base of Baldy. Before the ceremony Davis, and about 50 friends and family, skied down the run together. The Rev. Brian Baker of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Davisí family church, blessed the run using Trinity Springs spring water.

Holding had asked the 29-year-old mono-skier to select which run should be named in her honor at the Paralympics at Snowbasin.

"The tears came down her cheeks and they came down mine," Holding said. "God bless you Muffy. I just canít say enough good things about you. We just think youíre the greatest."

Davisí ski run area neighbors are also held in high esteem in the world of skiing.

Frasier was the first American woman to win an alpine ski medal. Cooper won a silver medal at the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo.

"I was so excited I cried in the bathtub after Mr. Holding told me," Davis said. "Iíve had that goal of having a run named in my honor since I was a kid.

"I love the pitch of that run. I love to fly down it. In fact, Iíve gone so fast the ski patrol has had to tell me to slow down. And itís a great family area. Maybe parents can tell the kids about how the runs got named, and itíll start those kids dreaming about winning their own Olympic medals."

In February 1989, the 16-year-old Davis was training downhill on Bald Mountain when she went off course at about 55 mph. She hit two trees and broker her T-6 vertebra and was instantly paralyzed.

That didnít keep her down.

She went on to graduate from Wood River High School with a 3.9 GPA and, in 1995, from Stanford University with a degree in human biology, with an emphasis on psycho-social aspects of disability, and a 3.5 GPA.

And her post-injury success didnít end in the classroom.

This winterís silver medals in downhill, super-G and giant slalom at Snow Basin are just the most recent in a long list of ski racing accolades.

The silvers capped a phenomenal year for Davis, who also won the overall disabled World Cup championship for the second year in a row.

She won bronze in the 1998 Parlympics in Nagano, Japan.

She also shared the honor of lighting the Paralympic cauldron before 50,000 people in Rice-Eccles stadium where the 2002 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony was held.

"This lady is a lady of great class, who does it not only on the slopes, but in life as well," Kempthorne said. "Muffy, God bless you for what you mean to us, and thank you for the inspiration."

 


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.