Olympic Park Hosting America's Cup Skeleton

Olympic Park Hosting America's Cup Skeleton

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Shelley Osterloh ReportingJessica Palmer, Skeleton Athlete: "Yeah, I watched Tristan Gale and I said, ‘Man I want to try that some day. So I'm here."

When Tristan Gale and Jimmy Shea won the gold medals in Skeleton it apparently made a big impact on some young people here in Utah. A whole new group of Utah athletes is making a mark on this sliding sport now.

The Utah Olympic Park is hosting the America's Cup Skeleton race with more than 40 competitors from seven countries. It's a chance for some up-and-coming Utah athletes to compete, or at least, be a forerunner.

16-year old Jessica Palmer qualified for the race. She is a sophomore at Roy High School.

Jessica Palmer, Skeleton Slider: "I tried out on a slider search. And that's how i got here. I've been taking it up and doing really good."

The junior development program at the Olympic Park is the largest of its kind in the world with 30 athletes in training. Justin Stoddard is a student at the University of Utah who came to Utah five years ago to ski at Rowland Hall's Rowmark Academy.

Justin Stoddard, Skeleton Slider: "Switched sports because I just love the thrill of speed. It's just incredible. It's the closest thing to flying."

Cassie Ravelli of Orem and Mackenzie Flanders of Park City are both 17. They say while they've had some bumps and bruises, skeleton is really much safer than people imagine.

At 28, Jason Vanderhoven who writes computer software for the military is one of the older development athletes who says its the physical and mental challenge he enjoys.

Jason Vanderhoven, Skeleton Slider: "The whole first portion, the push start is all physical, and that's just brute strength and speed. And then you get on your sled and you have to be able to slow your heart down, and get your body under control, and really be able to use you mind to guide your sled through the track."

Each of these athletes has dreams of making it to the Olympics. And for Utahns that may be another legacy of the 2002 Winter Games; with access to World Class Training facilities come World Class athletes.

If you'd like to try skeleton there are camps and schools that will teach you the basics. If you'd rather watch, America's Cup Racing continues tomorrow with skeleton in the morning, and bobsled races in the afternoon and evening.

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