Sunday, March 20, 2005 - Perspective
Where is our Golden Girl?

- By: Sara Renner

Exactly a year ago we were running on the ski trails at Soldier Hollow preparing and dreaming about the upcoming Olympics. In keeping with tradition and with the addition of the menís team, the Senior Team spent most of September in Utah for a high altitude training camp. Although there will be no international races scheduled at Soldier Hollow this winter, we have returned to duplicate the success of our previous seasonís preparation.

Now the stadium is quiet. There are no international teams familiarizing themselves with the courses, the rollerski loop is empty and the timing building has been converted into an elementary school. Olympic excitement is on simmer.

During a training session, Beckie Scott spotted the podium that she stood on when she became the first North American woman to win an Olympic medal in Cross Country Skiing. That was a moment she didnít want to end. Suddenly it wasnít so hard to imagine that sprint to the finish and the magic that everyone who was fortunate enough to be there witnessed.

While her life has changed since that day, she has not changed. Beckie admits that the "fall-out from those games has been an on-going process". Her phone at home in Bend, Oregon does ring more often. She squeezes in interviews between training sessions and public speaking engagements between camps.

The color of her medal remains uncertain. If justice is served, Scottís Christmas present will be a gold medal from The International Court of Arbitration for Sport. Santa will be bringing a lump of coal to the two doped Russians who finished ahead of her in the pursuit and then tested positive for the next day of racing.

"I like my bronze medal and I have shown it to many people since the Olympics. A lot of people have shared this medal and I have grown attached to it. I would trade it for a different color, though" said Scott.

It is contradictory that she will have to wait a year to be rewarded for clean performance while it took two days for Jaime Sale and David Pelletier to get their gold medal. Scott tries not to let the delays and the politics frustrate her and remains vocal in her fight for clean sport.

The dream that she had been chasing for the last ten years has been realized but Scott prefers to think about the future. She doesnít display her medal in the living room. It is perched on a bookshelf in her office.

Another Olympics are not out of the question but the challenges are real. It is a demanding commitment and even an Olympic medallist struggles for financial security.

"I will continue as long as I see improvements both in my skiing and in efforts to clean up our sport."

Beckie Scott has been a leader both on and off the ski trails. She had the courage to set her sights high and is a living testament to the power of perseverance. Her legacy is an inspired generation of young Nordic skiers that dream that they can accomplish great things too. That might be even better than a gold medal.

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