ASPEN – Aspen attorney Gary Wright has his sights set on the next Winter Olympics. His event: snowboarding.
A baby boomer, Wright doesn’t plan to compete with the legion of echo-boomers on boards, but in the world of officiating, where the competition can be nearly as intense as it is for the competitors.
Wright hopes to officiate the snowboarding events in the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada. He recently traveled to Australia to officiate the world snowboarding championships and while there, maybe win over officials with the Federation Internationale de Ski, the international body that oversees ski and snowboard events.
“Everybody wants to do the Olympics. I’m just hopeful that maybe I’ll make it,” he said.
Wright has good credentials. He officiated skiing’s speed events in the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City for both men and women. And he figures he’s one of 25 people in the world certified to officiate snowboard events.
Still, the Olympics are the gold medal for officials – maybe more so than for competitors, who have World Cup competitions to earn their titles.
“It’s really political,” Wright said. “It’s very hard to tell (if I’ll be selected). All I can do is what I’m doing.”
Wright was a ski racer in high school, then college. He even tried his hand at going pro, but, he said, a lousy season left him thinking he might make a better lawyer than a professional skier.
Wright never completely traded his boards for the bar, though. He’s a certified state ski coach with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, and a certified delegate in both alpine and snowboard events with the FIS.
“My goal is to go to Australia and do a great job and do such a great job they’ll want me to do the Olympics,” he said before leaving.
But like any Olympic hopeful, he’s looking farther down the road. FIS age limits would let him squeeze out one more Olympics, he said.
“If I don’t make 2010,” Wright said, “I’ll make 2014.”
The Vancouver Games run from Feb. 12-28, 2010, with venues stretching from the town of Richmond, south of Vancouver, to the resort of Whistler to the north. Snowboard and freestyle skiing events are set for Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver.
Austria, Russia and South Korea have bid for the 2014 Winter Games. The International Olympic Committee plans to make its final decision on those games at a meeting in Guatemala City in July 2007.