Lansing Rises To Olympic Gold

Wolf Creek Ledger (front page), February 25

SALT LAKE CITY - In just over a year, Wolf Creek native Eric Scott Lansing has been twice the U.S. champion and once the world champion of figure skating. And last night, he claimed one more title: Olympic Champion.

In a men's field that was skating in top form, Lansing--already the leader after Saturday night's short program--swept to the top of the podium with a seemingly effortless free skate that earned a standing ovation. A co-favorite for the gold, Kai Heawg of South Korea won the silver medal, with Lansing's training partner Ryan Williams of the U.S. taking the bronze.

Backstage when his win was announced, Lansing fell to his knees and pumped his fists before being embraced by his long-time coach, Malcolm Redgrave. In the stands, a number of Lansing's family members, including his parents and sister, erupted into wild cheers.

"We knew Eric would do it," proclaimed his father, local business owner Michael Lansing, after the medal ceremony. "This has been his year. He worked so hard for this... It's wonderful."

During the medal ceremony, Lansing sang along with the U.S. national anthem, wiping tears from his eyes.

"You dream about that moment as long as you can remember," he said afterward. "It doesn't compare to the reality... There are no words. I'm speechless."

On his performance, Lansing said, "You get maybe two or three times in your life when it's perfect. Almost nobody hits it at the Olympics, but I did... That was what I really achieved. The medal is just secondary. It was incredible to go out there in front of those judges and that audience--all my family and friends--and have that kind of performance."

With his status in the history of skating already secured by his U.S. and world titles, Lansing's Olympic triumph elevates him to a recognition beyond his own sport, and assures his future prosperity. But he is reticent about the rewards.

"It was all about the skating. When you're on the ice with those rings everywhere you look, you're not thinking a year or a month or a day ahead... You just want to go and put it all out there and show everyone, 'I'm here. I made it.'"

Lansing has made it, indeed. He's made it to a height in the sport of figure skating that only five other U.S. men have achieved in a century of Winter Games: the summit of Mount Olympus.

(Lane Jamison/Ledger Sports)

[PHOTOS: Local champ Eric Lansing waves to the audience after his Olympic free skate, above left; with coach Malcolm Redgrave as they react to his victory, above right.]