Paralympics Round Out Salt Lake’s Winter Games

“Paralympics Round Out Salt Lake’s Winter Games,” Liahona, July 2002, 127–28

Paralympics Round Out Salt Lake’s Winter Games

The spirit of athletic competition continued as Salt Lake City hosted the 2002 Paralympic Winter Games on 8–16 March. More than 4,000 volunteers and thousands of spectators cheered the efforts of disabled athletes from around the world as they competed in downhill skiing, hockey, and cross-country skiing.

Passing the Flame

On 7 March, the First Presidency and members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stood in front of the Church Administration Building to pass the Paralympic flame. Standing on the steps, the First Presidency welcomed the flame from torchbearer Carrie Snoddy of Park City, Utah. She handed her torch to President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, who handed it to President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, who then passed it to President Gordon B. Hinckley.

President Hinckley raised the torch for spectators to see. “Welcome, welcome, to the Paralympics, to these great athletes who have excelled!” he said. “Go forward! Win the race! Claim the pennant! Be happy, be happy. We’re all with you. We’re all rooting for you. We want you to succeed, and we hope that this will be a great and marvelous and wonderful occasion for everyone who participates. Let everyone be a winner. Hurray!”

President Hinckley than passed the torch to Margaret Stocks of the Brigham City Second Ward, Brigham City Utah Box Elder Stake, who carried it on its way.

Participating Athletes

Among the 1,000 athletes from 36 countries who competed in the Salt Lake 2002 Paralympic Winter Games were two Latter-day Saints. Lacey Heward, a 22-year-old member of the Mount Mahogany Ward, Highland Utah East Stake, skied past personal fears and most of her competitors on 11 and 14 March, winning two bronze medals in the women’s mono-ski division.

Sister Heward was only 18 months old when an accident left her disabled. But a physical disability has not slowed her self-proclaimed drive “to be the best that I can be.”

“I’ve worked so hard just to get to this point,” she said. “It feels so good to finally be here, to finally get the adrenaline going, to get out there and go for it.”

Keith Barney of the Alpine 11th Ward, Alpine Utah Stake, competed in the five-kilometer cross-country race and in the sit-ski division of the men’s biathlon. He is also a cyclist with the U.S. Paralympic team.

Brother Barney lost the use of his legs in an accident when he was 14 years old. Today he works in the rehabilitation center at the University of Utah Medical Center. He teaches the newly disabled how to live rich, productive lives.

Winter Olympics Update

In addition to the Olympic athletes featured in the June 2002 Liahona, Quinn Wheeler, age 28, a member of the Taylorsville 39th Ward, Taylorsville Utah South Stake, represented the U.S. Virgin Islands as a member of their Winter Olympics bobsled team. Brother Wheeler took up bobsledding during college and became acquainted with members of the Virgin Islands team while working in St. Thomas in mid-2000. He joined the team when an unexpected opening developed.

President Gordon B. Hinckley welcomes Paralympics torchbearer Carrie Snoddy with a kiss. President Thomas S. Monson and his wife, Frances, look on. (Photograph by Jeffrey D. Allred, courtesy of Church News.)

Lacey Heward, a Church member from Highland, Utah, won bronze medals in the mono-ski division of the Paralympics. (Photograph by Ravell Call, courtesy of Church News.)