Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Games Torch Bearer, Chuck Heckert, is being bestowed yet another honor. Today’s Ski Jumping/Nordic Combined Competition at the Utah Olympic Park is officially newly named the inaugural Heckert Memorial.
The community will get an annual friendly reminder of just how impactful Heckert was during his well-lived life, before his passing in late November after a long battle with cancer.
Heckert, the former athlete, was an international ski jumping consultant, advisor, official, judge and ski jumping Hall of Famer which made him the natural choice to be among the first handful of employees who got to oversee the literal dynamited design of the Large Hills at what began as the Utah Winter Sports Park. The evolved nomenclature of the Utah Olympic Park, already houses the “Heckert Highway” which you’ve traveled if you’ve biked, skinned or hiked up when tubing, zip-lining or poaching lines down. Check out the plaque next time. Ski Jumping athletes are well aware of the legacy Heckert left behind as some of them have been the proud recipients of the “Heckert Cup” trophy over the years.
This weekend’s formative event is a USA Nordic regional qualifier for the sports of Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined. Development athletes attend this annual competition trying to get their tickets punched to then compete in the USA Nordic Junior National Championships. 2020 found a sudden COVID cancellation making 2021’s event that much more meaningful to all stakeholders, perhaps none mores that Jannett Heckert, high school sweetheart and wife of over 51 years, their sons Dan and Scott and their four grandchildren. A statement from the Heckert family reads,”It’s a fantastic moment for us to have our dad memorialized in this special way.”
2021 USA Nordic Jr. Nationals will be held in Steamboat Springs, CO and 2022 will be in Lake Placid, NY and although spectators are not allowed this unique year the Moveable Feast that is the USA Ski Jumping/Nordic Combined community will welcome everybody to celebrate Heckert’s life next year.
Photos: Chuck Heckert
Photo Credits: Heckert Family