Proud Americans

Aug 16, 2013

In soon to be war-torn Sarajevo, a pair of twins stood proudly for all of America.

Hi, this is Tom Kelly and I'll be right back with the story, Behind the Gold.

It's been nearly 30 years since Phil Mahre climbed atop the podium in Sarajevo, twin Steve at his side. Despite the passage of time, the memory and the emotion hasn't faded. It's grown stronger. Phil and Steve Mahre dominated their support in the early 1980's.

Phil came to Sarajevo with three world cup overall titles. Steve skied on the heels of a World Championship in 1982. The 1984 season wasn't the best for the twins but they knew in their minds they could win. The media wasn't so sure as the games clicked down to the wire. It was closing day at Bjelasnica on a tough shalom hill that caused fits for the top skiers, but not for the Mahres. Steve was near perfect in the first run, storming to the lead with Phil third. Now it was time for history to be made. Skiing with emotion and efficiency in the second run, Phil was perfect to take gold. Steve was eighth fastest but hung on for silver-a best ever five medals for the U.S. ski team. As Phil climbed the podium he envisioned a perfect celebration for himself and his twin.

But that all changed when the anthem played and the stars and stripes was raised. He said, "A lot of things came to my mind at that point-family, friends, coaches, servicemen anyone who ever donated money, anyone who wished me luck, so many things raced through my mind... then I realized, it wasn't just me who made that possible. There were a lot of people in my corner that gave me the ability to be one of the best in the world." This was more than a gold medal. It was the purest form of Olympism - an athlete sharing his pride with those who helped him walk those steps to become an Olympic champion. 

 This is Tom Kelly with Behind the Gold... Only in Park City... Only on KPCW.

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