Local Olympians to be honored | AspenTimes.com

Local Olympians to be honored

Naomi Havlen
Aspen Times Staff Writer

A communitywide party to celebrate Aspen’s newest Olympians is scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

The Aspen Skiing Co. is sponsoring a party for bronze medalist and snowboarder Chris Klug, super G racer Katie Monahan and combined ski racer Casey Puckett. Although only Klug is expected to return from his current racing schedule in time for the party, the event will honor all three Olympians.

“He’s looking forward to it, and he’s made special arrangements to be here on time,” said proud dad Warren Klug. “He’s really thrilled that the community wants to celebrate all of the Aspen-area Olympians.”

A motorcade will begin Sunday at 3:30 p.m. in front of the Wheeler Opera House. It will wind through downtown Aspen before a 4 p.m. celebration at the gondola plaza. The celebration will include music, guest speakers and an autograph session.

Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle said the details of the event are still being worked out, but said the party is open to the public, and “everyone in town should come by.

“We didn’t find out until Monday that he’d be back in town for Sunday. We’re working as quickly as we can to pull this together, and it should be something similar to the Olympic torch ceremony,” Hanle said.

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The elder Klug said his son will “absolutely” be wearing the bronze medal, which he describes as an impressive, heavy award that he wore 24 hours a day after he received it.

“I think he was sleeping in it,” he said.

Chris’ mother, Kathy, said she just found out Tuesday morning while watching “The Today Show” that her son was one of the recipients of the Olympic Spirit Award. Chris Klug overcame a liver transplant 18 months ago and continued training to win the bronze medal in parallel giant slalom.

“I was brushing my teeth, and I heard them say he was on his way to Japan,” she said. “I thought, ‘This is a big deal! How come I didn’t know about this?'”

Klug is in Japan to compete in a World Cup race. Kathy, whose voice is still a little raw from cheering on her son in Park City, Utah, said Chris plans to keep racing as long as he loves it.

“He said, ‘The press covers me like I’m the golden boy, but I’m a working man,'” she said. “The bronze medal for him was never the goal. His goal was to do the best he can for as long as he can.”

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