Games after I was injured — flashing NBC cameras with gloves that read, “Hi Emily”
— to the day he literally picked me up and carried me to the end of a grueling workout
with the U.S. Navy Seals.
Speedy’s dedication to each of his teammates being the best we could be was unwavering. When someone was down he was the first to pick us back up, whether it
was because he knew what it was like to hurt, or because his mom, Linda, taught him
how to take care of others. He was consistently the person ensuring we were strong
and happy. It is simply who he was.
In the USA House at the Vancouver 2010 Games after winning his silver medal,
Speedy honored coach Matt Christensen with the Order of Ikkos award (a USOC
recognition that athletes give to coaches) saying, “this has been an amazing experi-
ence for me, and it’s not one that you get to do by yourself.” He then made us laugh
with his commentary about blasting the “Team America” theme song on the way to
the jumps each day. He always knew when and how to make us smile, but on that
day, acknowledging those around him was the priority. He finished by saying, “one of
the things that I have definitely learned along the way is that it’s about who you meet;
it’s about everybody who helped you get to where you are.” He was right, and those
who had the privilege to know him or watch him jump will forever be impacted.
Today, Speedy’s character on and off the hill is being remembered, and his legacy
carried on around the world. His international competitors respected and admired his
passion and willingness to push himself and the sport.
One of my favorite competition memories is from watching as the international field
and, of course, our own team and supporters erupted into celebration as Speedy
broke the world record with his signature “hurricane” jump in front of a hometown
crowd in Deer Valley, Utah. We all recognized that despite the bloody nose from
earlier crashes, the horrible weather and challenging conditions, Speedy once again
gave it all he had. He repeated his record-breaking performance the next night, and
every person on the hill, including those working to take his place on the top of the
podium shared in his elation.
In an interview with “NBC Nightly News,” Speedy said: “there’s no feeling in the world
like being 50 feet up in the air. I just have a confidence about being upside-down and
in the air… it’s where I feel best.” Being on the hill with Speedy where he felt best
gave one a sense of excitement that is hard to find elsewhere, and I feel lucky that I
had the chance to share that part of his life with him.
In Lake Placid, Speedy’s legacy now is shared by Olympic gold medalist and U.S.
Ski Team coach Eric Bergoust. “He was one of those rare athletes who had the faith
and determination to get the job done no matter what,” Bergoust said. “I learned a lot
from him about what it takes to be a champion — things I would like to have known
earlier in my career — but I am grateful that I now have the opportunity to share with
the athletes that I coach how he inspired me in many ways.”
Those of us here in Utah are also committed to carrying on Speedy’s legacy. The
week we heard the news, the team participated in a water ramp competition held
in Speedy’s honor. For me this was not an easy step, but it was an important one.
Though each day is a process, we are dealing the best we can and as Speedy would
have wanted we continue to come together and support each other through the hard