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Athletes Recall Their Greatest Olympic Moments
By Kyle Eichelberger, Scholastic Kids Press Corps

Posing with their snow boards and two Scholastic Kid Reporters are (left) Danny Kass and (back center) Andy Finch at the USOC Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in October 2005. The kid reporters are (from left) Kyle Eichleberger and Natalie Honodel.
Posing with their snowboards and two Scholastic Kid Reporters are (left) Danny Kass and (back center) Andy Finch at the USOC Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in October 2005. The Kid Reporters are (center) Kyle Eichleberger and (right) Natalie Honodel.
(Photo: Suzanne Freeman)
The experience of competing and watching the Olympic Games is something that most athletes remember all their lives. Whether it is the view from the medal stand or from the audience as one of their heroes succeeds, each athlete had a different response to the question: What is your favorite Olympic memory?

I posed that question to a variety of Winter Olympic hopefuls at a media summit in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in October 2005. The summit was held to introduce the press to the U.S. athletes competing for a spot in the 2006 Winter Games in Torino, Italy, in February.

"My greatest Olympic memory was probably receiving the medal on the podium with all my family and friends there cheering and going nuts," said snowboarder Danny Kass. "It was a big shock like wow, I got to do something cool!"

Bobsledder Mike Kohn has fond memories of his competition in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2002. "If I had to remember another special moment, it would be the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team in Lake Placid," he said. That year, the U.S. won the gold medal.

Some athletes like figure-skater Michael Weiss remember being inspired by others. "I think one of my favorite moments is watching Paul Wylie when he won the silver medal at the 1992 Olympics in figure skating," Weiss said. "He wasn't even supposed to be on the Olympic team. Everybody thought he was too old. He was a huge underdog, and he came out and shocked and surprised everybody. He knew what he was capable of. He skated the biggest program of his life at the biggest competition of his life. It was a great moment in Olympic history."

Women's hockey player Chandra Gunn had two favorite moments. "One was in 1998, I was in high school at the time and the U.S. Women's Hockey Team won the gold medal, so that was very exciting. I got up at 4 a.m. to watch it," she said. The other was when she was younger and was both a hockey player and a swimmer. She watched Jan Evans swimming at the Olympics. "It was very exciting to watch her," she said

Hannah Teter, a snowboarder, was extra excited about this question. "I foreran the Park City Olympics, the last Olympics, and I just remember that there were just so many people and I was like, man, I want to be in this event, but I was just a little forerunner just hangin' out, and I knew I wanted to go to the next one," she said. (A forerunner is someone who snowboards on the run before the athletes in the competition.)

You don't have to be an Olympic athlete to be inspired by the Olympics. You can follow all of the action on Scholastic News Online and by watching NBC coverage of the Winter Games, February 10-26. What moment will most inspire you? Watch and find out!

Photos, left to right: © Rick Rickman/NewSport/NewSport/Corbis; © Joe Cavaretta/AP Wide World.