From US Ski Team Release
March 26, 2006
SUGARLOAF, Maine (March 26) - Ben Adams is a 14-year-old eighth-grader from Granby, Conn., who races for the Ski Sundown Ski Team ("I'm probably better in GS, he says). He writes occasional poetry and expects to eventually enter law school.
But Ben Adams stole just about everybody's heart Saturday night with a poem about Lindsey Kildow (Vail, CO), which he read - with a mighty pick-me-up from Kildow - at Opening Ceremonies for the TD Banknorth U.S. Alpine Championships. Several thousand people attended the jam-packed schedule, which included alumni recognition awards, honors for the downhill winners early in the day (Bode Miller - Bretton Woods, NH, and Kirsten Clark - Raymond, ME) and a blockbuster autograph party that involved every U.S. Ski Team athletes plus hundreds of fans who formed a line that snaked its way around two floors of the base lodge and threaded its way out into the base village's Main Street.
The back story: a year ago, on a school assignment, Adams and his classmates were told to write a poem about their hero. He wrote about Miller, who was en route to becoming the first American to win an overall World Cup title since Phil Mahre in 1983. At Mom's urging, he added some lines and sent the poem to Ski Racing magazine, which published it and then invited the seventh grader to read his poem at the Oroweat U.S. Alpine Championships at Mammoth Mountain, Calif., as Miller was honored as the magazine's 2005 Male Skier of the Year.
Showing no fear for a seventh grader, Adams read his poem. Kildow, who was on stage as the Female Skier of the Year, laughingly asked, "Where's MY poem? So, Adams, who had driven with his parents and sister Hanna to Sugarloaf for the championships, presented it to her Saturday and Kildow - who was being honored once more as SR's Female Skier of the Year after a season that included three World Cup victories - invited him up on stage to read his latest poem.
The 24-line poem was inspired by Kildow's crash during the second downhill training run at the Olympics; she spent a night in a hospital but came out the next day and raced less than 48 hours after the crash, finishing eighth.) Coincidentally, Kildow had crashed Saturday in the downhill title race.)
When she called Adams up for a do-over reading as he had done a year ago, his voice was a little shaky. This was a BIG crowd, certainly not like standing in the front of a classroom to read your poem. Kildow walked over to him, put an arm around him and stayed with him, helping defuse anxieties and helping settle things so he could finish his reading without incident.
"What I didn't know, Adams said later, "was that she was in a lot of pain, but she didn't let anyone know.
Said his dad, John, a geologist and environmental sciences consultant, "Ben knew he had to come through. Jury verdict: gold medal for Ben Adams, the leading candidate for mythical poet laureate of the U.S. Ski Team.
Read the Poem
A Poem for Lindsey Kildow by Ben Adams, 8th grader, Granby (CT) Memorial Middle School
LINDSEY KILDOW, a skier we know well
So many victories, so many stories to tell
But the one that captured my heart and soul
Took place in the Olympics outside of Torino.
Down the hill, she was moving fast
When an edge caught and the crowd did grasp.
Tumbling, crashing, she landed in a heap.
Air-lifted to the hospital, no one could speak
But Lindsey, mighty Lindsey would make a return.
A miraculous choice given that crash and burn
At the top of the hill, she was ready to start
Little did we know, we were about to witness art
Through pain and stiffness, she tucked down low
Her courage and grit almost seemed to glow
Through every turn Lindsey Kildow made haste
Her body held strong and moved with grace
Our hearts were racing at every gate
At the finish line, we could hardlly wait
And then she appeared at the speed of light
She completed that race like a bird in flight
This run she had tackled was better than a win
It deserved so much more than a medal or pin
Lindsey, we Americans raised our hands to the sky
In praise of your spirit, the highest of high.