Touched by Gretchen Bleiler Day |

Touched by Gretchen Bleiler Day

Dear Editor:

A little overdue, due to my hectic travel schedule since the Olympics, but there are so many people I have wanted to thank since Gretchen Bleiler Day, and I thought this would be the best way!

The parade touched me in a way that nothing else has since I won the silver medal at the Olympics in Torino. I will never forget the moment in the parade where we rounded the corner at Paradise Bakery, and there, one after the other, like in a movie, I spotted three key figures from my past looking up at me with so much pride and support. Wiley Mannering, my hockey coach in high school, Gordo, my old soccer coach, and Richard Jelinek, my best friend’s stepdad. Seeing these three people from key times in my life, where I had to make hard decisions that ultimately got me where I am today, really hit home! It was also very special to see several of my teachers from my days at Aspen Country Day School.

So thank you to everyone ” friends, teachers, coaches and neighbors ” who came out and supported me. It is your best wishes and your encouragement that have always fueled me to go out and do my best. Thank you to my family, my biggest support system, for riding in the snowcat and for always being there for me! None of this would have ever been possible without the planning and initiation from the city of Aspen and the Aspen Skiing Co. Thank you to all of the AVSC kids who marched in the parade. Of course thank you to Jason Smith, John Callahan, Stefan Kaelin, Jeanne Golay and our valley’s other Olympians, for adding some flavor to the day!

The gondola ceremony was just as magical as the parade, especially since it started with Gary Daniel singing our national anthem. I was so honored with presentations from Mark Cole, Helen Klanderud, Patti Clapper and Matty Swanson. And then last but not least thank you so much to David Perry, Deric Gunshor and Pat O’Donnell for giving me the lifetime pass to Aspen/Snowmass.

This will definitely keep me around town for a long time! What a rewarding and valuable day! And thank you once again, Roaring Fork Valley, for your unconditional support and encouragement throughout my entire career.

Gretchen Bleiler


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