Athletics & Recreation

Pioneers ski team meets President Bush

President George W. Bush welcomed the 2008 NCAA Champion University of Denver ski team at the White House on June 24. The event was part of Champions Day, which included 20 NCAA Division I national championship teams from the 2007–08 season.

“It is an honor to be here with so many fine student-athletes, now known as national champs,” Bush said. “I appreciate the fact that you showed incredible discipline, skill, perseverance. It’s hard to become a champ, and that’s why we love to honor people here at the White House when you become one.”

The teams were introduced on the South Lawn, where President Bush addressed the athletes, paying extra tribute to the Pioneers, who won the skiing title despite having only 11 of the maximum 12 possible skiers competing.

“The University of Denver Men’s and Women’s Ski Team competed with one fewer skier than their rivals, making them only the second ski team in NCAA history to win the title shorthanded. And we congratulate you,” Bush said.

After a tour of the White House, the president met with DU’s coaches and student-athletes in the East Room, posing for a picture with the team. The Pioneers presented Bush with a custom-made belt buckle commemorating the 2008 national championship.

“We are grateful that President Bush found time in his busy schedule to welcome the DU ski team as well as the other Division I NCAA champions to the White House,” said DU alpine head coach Andy LeRoy.

Earlier in the day, Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar met with the team after his staff gave the Pioneers a tour of the Capitol.

“It was a big year for Colorado skiing — big snows, big competition and a big-time come-from-behind win from the Pioneers to set a new record for NCAA skiing championships,” Salazar said.

“It was inspiring seeing so many great teams that won championships in their respective sports,” DU Nordic head coach David Stewart said.

Although Denver has won 19 NCAA championships in skiing, this was the first time the team has been honored at the White House. Along with claiming the national team title and two individual titles, nine Pioneers earned All-American honors.

Comments are closed.