The 2002 Winter Olympics in SLC was filled with excitement. Our friend Rusty Smith won a bronze medal in the 500. Steven Bradbury came out of nowhere to win the 1000 and Apolo Ohno became the breakout star. Speedskating in the US also experienced something else that was new, fans…. crazy fans!!
A few months after the Olympics, NCSA was having a local meet. One of those crazy fans came out to see our meet expecting so see Apolo. She started talking to some of our skaters. Next thing you know, one of the skaters had talked this crazy fan into moving from one side of the wall to the other side of the wall.
A few weeks later, I was standing at the wrong place at the wrong time and this crazy fan came up to me and told me that this was her first time on ice skates. I did what I could to get her on the ice and we struggled to make it around the ice for one lap. For me it was one lap, for her, it was the Olympic 1000m final. Following that lap, I parked her on a bucket in the middle and the session continued.
That crazy fan has been with us as a skater, volunteer, official, fan, helper, advisor and sounding board for over 10 years now. She has been with us through the bad times and the good times. We have compared notes about families and we’ve hiked in Yosemite with her.
If you haven’t guessed it yet, this fan is Susan Groszkiewicz. Susan is retiring and moving up to Bend, Oregon. We’re hoping that after she settles, she will start a skating club and we’ll have to travel up to Bend to visit.
We’ll miss you Susan!!!