By Marilyn Lau
The Salt Lake Organizing Committee hosted the “Short Sport” Youth Program at Kearns High School in Kearns, Salt Lake County Monday, May 1.
The Short Sport Youth Program was created by Bob Bills director of youth programs for SLOC. According to Bills, the purpose of the program is to provide two things for Utah’s youth: an Olympic experience and Olympic opportunity.
To provide an Olympic experience, the program was organized to reach as many people as possible, be portable and showcase the Olympics.
Short Sports takes simulated Olympic winter events to Utah schools and communities. These events include freestyle aerials bungy, luge on wheels, sled hockey, slalom ski course and curling. The equipment used for Short Sport is the same equipment Olympic and Paralympic athletes use in training.
Eliott Wilson, a 10-year-old from Kearns, enjoyed the freestyle aerials bungy. After his harness was attached to two bungy cords, Wilson was able to do flips and twists in mid-air.
“It felt like I was sky diving,” said Wilson, who wants to one day participate in the Olympics. “I waited about an hour, but it was worth it.”
Bills also wants SLOC’s Youth Programs to provide Olympic opportunities. Children who show potential at events like Short Sports may be invited to participate in Olympic event camps.
These camps work in collaboration with established clubs and associations of the various sports to give children advanced training in different Olympic events, according to www.saltlake2002.com, the official web site of the Winter 2002 games.
Bills said they found a boy who had never skied before but was doing triple flips on the freestyle aerials bungy at one of their events. He is now practicing with the U.S. Ski Team.
Todd Porter, director of Short Sports, said the program visited over 60 schools this year, 50 schools last year, and will continue to visit schools and communities up to the winter games. The goal is to visit every region of Utah and especially visit each venue city.
“This program is unique to Utah,” said Porter. “We want communities to get into the Olympics and enjoy it for what it is.”