Breckenridge resident and Olympic snowboarder Arielle Gold led a group of five winter Olympians on a trip to Washington, DC last month to raise concerns about climate change, writes Summit Daily.
Gold, who won a bronze medal in snowboard halfpipe at February’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, was joined by gold medal freeskier David Wise, gold medal Nordic skier Jessie Diggins, American skier Stacey Cook and American biathlete Maddie Phaneuf.
The 22-year-old Gold was especially vocal at the April 25 bipartisan congressional briefing, which was organized by nonprofit groups Protect Our Winters and Citizens’ Climate Lobby, in partnership with Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet and Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins.
Gold attributes her chronic shoulder problems to the poor, warm conditions at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. She appeared at the briefing wearing an arm sling after having surgery in early April. Gold told the federal representatives that the lack of practice due to the warm weather conditions in Sochi led to the fateful crash.
“The Sochi Olympics was one of the worst events I’ve ever had,” Gold told the representatives. “They were spraying blue chemicals on the halfpipe to try to keep it frozen. It’s unlikely that city will ever be able to host the Winter Olympics again.”
“We’re your canaries in the coal mine,” the gold medalist Diggins added. “We see (climate change) happening all over the world, and it affects everyone at every level. I see man-made snow everywhere we go — nobody can count on natural snow anymore. It’s a sign we really need to do something. Climate change is taking away a very healthy, incredibly fun, family-oriented sport that I love.”
Nevadan David Wise expanded on Diggins’ point:
“Now we are starting to see it,” he said. “I think everybody is beginning to see it on a personal level, realizing, ‘Hey this is not only real, but it’s immediate. It’s something that is changing quickly and we need to do something about it.’ It’s not just about saving the environment anymore, it’s about saving our economy.”