Thousands gathered earlier this month to celebrate the accomplishments of three South Lake Tahoe women for medaling in the Olympics. Community members lined Highway 50 to celebrate Jamie Anderson, Hannah Teter and Maddie Bowman all who have earned Olympic gold medals — Anderson and Bowman in 2014 and Teter in 2006. Their success spotlights the South Shore as a nurturing home for aspiring athletes with a supportive community that encourages the development of Olympic-sized talent whether on the mountain or off.
However, these “golden girls” weren’t always golden; dedication, years of hard work, extensive training and support from family and friends shaped their paths to gold. Anderson’s confidence waivered early in her career as she struggled to gain her footing in her field; Teter worked through injuries before winning her gold and all three had to prove themselves in male-dominated sports. But, despite perceived and real obstacles, courage and the refusal to give up on their vision led these women to gold.
While their athletic feats are to be applauded, there is a larger lesson to be learned from their accomplishments that applies to the South Shore community: the ability to set a vision and pick one’s self up after a stumble to achieve the goal. The South Shore has faced its fair share of set-backs and while we have moved forward we have been outpaced by myriad other tourism destinations such as Jackson Hole, Monterey, Sonoma and Park City.
The South Shore has a need now more than ever for Olympian-level leaders to take their place at our podium. This November, we’ll elect three council members for the City of South Lake Tahoe and a new Supervisor for El Dorado County. We need leaders who have integrity, vision and courage. Leaders who will hold an image of a prosperous community with an improved quality of life for all residents at the core of their being. Leaders who will have the persistence to hold true to that possibility and keep the course even when it requires dusting themselves off after making the inevitable controversial and difficult decisions. Leaders who are willing to learn from others as to what it takes to grow a sustainable economy. And now, more than ever, we need one of our younger professionals to enter the race and assume the role of leader for the future of the community.
I believe our community is ready to support a new type of leader and encourage those who may be sitting on the sidelines to consider getting into the sport of politics. Who knows, maybe one of our golden girls would be willing to share their winning strategies with you!
Betty “B” Gorman is president & CEO of the TahoeChamber.