By Rebecca Ryser
The Salt Lake Organizing Committee”s “Street to Sport” program has begun its tour to schools in Utah.
The program, sponsored by Delta airlines, targets underprivileged Utah youth who wouldn”t normally get an Olympic experience, said Catherine Dotson, Youth Sport Coordinator for SLOC.
Street to Sport offers tickets and clinics as part of its program, said Dotson.
Six sport simulations running during the program include the following: alpine skiing, sledge hockey, speed skating, bobsleigh, luge and an aerial bungee system, according to the Salt Lake 2002 Media Update.
The aerial bungee system attaches bungee cords to users allowing them to perform flips and other acrobatic movements, Dotson said.
It is similar to training systems of Olympic freestyle skiers, Dotson said.
“Seventh-graders love riding the luge and getting up close touching it actually sitting and riding it,” Dotson said.
West Junior High in Roosevelt Utah, is one of the schools visited by the program last week.
A SLOC representative, a Delta representative, and two Paralympic athletes interacted with students in an assembly, said Dr. A. J. Pease, principal of the school.
“This particular assembly did more to bring Olympics into the lives of our students than I have seen anything else done,” Pease said.
“It was real to them. I think the real part was the disabilities that they connected with and then were able to transfer that to the Olympics.”
Some students sat in a toboggan. One smaller student put on a skin-tight suit and sat in the mono ski chair, Pease said.
“I saw something that I”ve never seen from these students before. Numerous students went up to the stage to get autographs,” Pease said.
Street to Sport is also a partner with the Legacy Ski and Ride program at Park City Mountain Resort, Dotson said.
The purpose of the Legacy Ski and Ride program is to give 200 pre-registered Utah youth, grades K – 12, a chance to ski and snowboard for free, said Hilarie Olson, communications coordinator of Park City Mountain Resort.
The program offers students a free three-hour lesson, free equipment rental and free lift tickets, Olson said.
Approximately 10,000 Utah students have successfully learned to ski or ride through the Legacy Ski & Ride Program over the past two seasons, Olson said.
Five students who came into the program with youth groups for troubled teens learned the sport of curling, and have now competed in a junior curling competition, Dotson said.
About 51,000 kids have gone through the program, Dotson said.