Utah Teens Traveling to Russia to Compete in Athletics

Utah Teens Traveling to Russia to Compete in Athletics

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Sammy Linebaugh ReportingSome of Utah's top high school athletes are getting set to compete in a new sort of summer games. Tomorrow a specially chartered Russian plane will fly more than 200 Utah teens to Moscow where they'll go head-to-head with some of Russia's best young competitors.

From space exploration to the arms race, the old Soviet Union for decades was the enemy. All during the cold war USA v. Russia was much more than a sports rivalry.

Kim Norton, Volleyball Coach: "I didn't ever think as a young person that I’d ever be roaming around Russia being hosted by the country."

For the next ten days that's just what some Utah athletes will be doing as they join a delegation of top local athletes heading tomorrow to Moscow where they'll celebrate a new post-cold war friendship with friendly competition.

Michael Rogers, Skyline High School: "I couldn't even believe I got the opportunity to go, and I'm pretty nervous now, but it's gonna be fun."

Kim Wilson, Provo High School: "I'm so excited for the culture, to learn more about the people and their traditions and stuff like that, so I'm excited it'll be fun."

In all two hundred fifty high school athletes will represent Utah in ten different sports from soccer and basketball to swimming and wrestling.

Some, like the volleyball players, have only had a few days together as a team.

Scott Ady, Provo High School: "We've trained for like four days, we've had like two a day practices, three hour practices. So it's tough. Not a lot of time together. Uh uh, not really, but we're getting pretty quick."

Kate Robison, Clearfield High School: "I think it's a really fun opportunity to be able to travel internationally at my age and get that experience, because it'll help me so much in the future."

A future, these athlete ambassadors hope is marked by continued peace between the two countries already more than a decade in the making.

Next winter the stage is already set for Russian athletes to come here for a winter games between the two cities.

While in Russia, the Utah athletes will stay in a hotel that was once an Olympic Village when the old Soviet Union hosted the 1980 Games.

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