MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) - On Tuesday evening, Marquette native Greg Goodman made his departure from Sawyer International Airport on what would be his first flight of a 25-hour trip to the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Goodman was officially selected on Oct. 8 by the Olympic committee as a volunteer for a portion of the skiing events, and he will be helping with course setup and preparation, race day setting and slipping, and other safety coordination efforts.
“I’m really excited about the games,” he told The Mining Journal of Marquette ( http://bit.ly/1doG0dx ). “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I’m excited to see all the athletes and meet different competitors and volunteers from around the world.”
In Goodman’s case, however, this turns out to be a twice-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
He also volunteered at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he worked on the corkscrew section of the alpine course.
“Through volunteering there, I met some contacts and applied with the Olympic committee for the Sochi games,” he said. “After that, I went through some subsequent interviews with Moscow on Skype, and I was notified in October.”
Goodman’s resume in the sport makes him a great fit for the job. He attended Michigan Tech University, where he was an All-American in alpine skiing. He is also employed as a ski coach for the Marquette Mountain Race Team and Great Lakes Ski Academy, both of which he has been doing for the past 10 years.
He said that when he isn’t busy tending to the course, he hopes to make it to events like bobsled, skeleton, and women’s ski jumping, which is making its debut this year.
“They’ve gone through a lot of turmoil to prove they should be able to compete in the event as well as the men, so I’m definitely going to try to get to the premiere of that,” Goodman said.
In the weeks leading up to the Olympics, the potential threat of terrorist attacks loomed and the event’s security became a growing topic of discussion in the media, but Goodman said he doesn’t think it will be an issue.
“There have obviously been some security concerns, but I feel that with the measures the Olympic committee, the Russian government and the U.S. embassy have taken over there, the games will be safe,” he said.
Goodman made the journey to Sochi with two other ski volunteers, one from Oshkosh, Wis., and one from Stowe, Vt. After leaving Sawyer International Airport he landed in Detroit, then boarded an eight-hour flight to Amsterdam. From there, he went to Moscow, where he took a Russian airline to his final destination in Sochi.
He will be staying at the Olympic village near the Rosa Khutor resort in the western Caucasus mountains, located nearly 40 miles from Sochi.
Goodman said he looks forward to cheering on his favorite racers, Bode Miller and Julia Mancuso, as they compete on the downhill events.
“I’m really hoping Team USA does well,” he said.