Ten months ago our nation celebrated as 17 American skiers and snowboarders combined to win 21 Olympic medals in Vancouver. It was truly a Best in the World performance! I can't help but reflect back on a principle I learned from a great football coach: "You achieve what you emphasize."
The success of our athletes in Vancouver is a testament to the belief in the Best in the World vision. Through perseverance, it paid off for the athletes who believed and for our clubs who took that vision and built grassroots programs to feed into the vision.
Over the last decade I've talked a lot about leadership to our staff, to our clubs and to our stakeholders. Leadership is pushing a consistent message of excellence over a sustained period of time. The USSA sent athletes to Vancouver with the goal of being best in the world and they achieved what many thought was impossible. Our entire organization stayed the course and focused on the ultimate goal. It took a team - athletes, coaches, suppliers, sponsors, donors, clubs, parents, volunteers, resorts, and the media. Our myopic focus and the "whole team" pushed towards best in the world success in the true spirit of Olympism.
I am often asked what we need to do to sustain that level of excellence. To me, it's not about sustaining. It's about improving. It's about getting better. We can never be satisfied with our accomplishments. We can and should enjoy them. But, at the same time, we must look toward the future and build on the platform of success.
The perfect example is our Olympic Nordic Combined Team. Three of the four team members were in the program since the early 1990's and they all faced multiple challenges since that time- injuries to Bill Demong and Johnny Spillane, and a retirement on the part of Todd Lodwick. Each of them would not let injuries set them back, Each took their success' in stride and pushed to improve when a World Championship medal was not good enough and only Olympic success would satisfy their hunger to be the best. Each of the 17 medalists in Vancouver made similar commitments and it was a delight to be part of those fantastic 16 days of competition in Vancouver.
Our athletes are showing the commitment that was made after 2010 and focusing on future success. It's great to be part of this organization and to focus on the future, not on the past. Our vision is to be Best in the World and we will continue to emphasize that goal.
Bill Marolt President and CEO U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association