Reasons to Love Denver 2021: Athletics a Mile Above the Rest

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Reasons to Love Denver 2021: Athletics a Mile Above the Rest

Colin Duffy, Team USA’s youngest climber. Photo courtesy Luke Webster

9 reasons to love Denver in 2021

Even in a pandemic year of adversity and defeat, these local athletes inspired us to reach great heights.

• July 1, 2021

1. Because these local athletes gave us something to cheer about after looking for their own silver or gold or bronze placements in the one-year delay in the Tokyo Summer Olympics.

Ben Pinkelman, 27 years old
Hometown: Centenary
Sports: rugby
Favorite local park: Cherry Park, centenary
Pinkelman was ready to squeeze through a back injury and hobble into the 2020 games. Instead, as soon as the delay became known, he flew home for surgery. While recovering, he tried learning Japanese and juggling, but barely touched a rugby ball. He thought it was a rare opportunity to miss his sport and believes the mental break prepared him to play his second Olympics – and the world.

Summer Rappaport, 29
Hometown: Thornton
Sports: Triathlon
Favorite place to dine with friends: Hapa Sushi, Boulder
Rappaport was the first triathlete in the country to qualify for the US Olympic triathlon team in Tokyo. This year, her already exhausting training schedule was reinforced by the challenge of having to live apart from her husband for more than six months while training in Portugal. Due to travel restrictions and the ban on foreign spectators, they are not expected to meet again until after their race on July 27th.

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Yul Moldauer, 24
Hometown: Arvada
Sports: gymnastics
Favorite local food: Breakfast burrito from Bonfire Burritos, Golden
When COVID-19 hit, Moldova’s neighbors got their first glimpse of this Olympic hopefuls when he was training on a pommel horse in his garage and a tumble mat on his lawn. Moldauer had trained at the University of Oklahoma, his alma mater, but ultimately decided to move to Colorado, where he met family trainers at 5280 Gymnastics.

Maddie Godby, Jan.
Hometown: Louisville
Sports: Track cycling
Favorite Colorado Bike Tour: Flagstaff Road, Boulder
After the track at the Olympic base in 2020 was closed, Godby logged many “unglamorous solo workouts” on the stationary trainer. Motivation came and went in waves at first, but eventually found strength in realizing that uninterrupted training and an empty racing schedule had the potential to lead to huge improvements ahead of her first Olympics.

Colin Duffy, 17
Hometown: Broom field
Sports: Climb
Favorite meeting place in the hometown: Sweet cow, Louisville
Colin Duffy, Team USA’s youngest climber, got his driver’s license last year and has grown a few inches. However, Duffy achieved the greatest successes this year in speed climbing – one-on-one race on 15-meter climbing walls – one of the three disciplines in which he will compete in Tokyo. – Danielle Atkin

2. Because our swing has never been better.

Photo by Jeff Nelson

Golf has never been a big part of Colorado culture, mostly because it’s seen as stiff and stuffy – in short, too many diamonds and too little flannel. Then COVID-19 ended our usual activities. Denver-owned golf courses only enjoyed a brief hiatus, however, and reopened on April 22, less than a month after the home stay orders were issued. All of a sudden, golf became one of our only options. Just as surprisingly, it soon became one of our favorite pastimes. Last year, Denver golf courses recorded more than 391,000 rounds, up 24 percent over the previous year. Those numbers should continue to flourish in 2021 as the City Park Golf Course, which reopened in September 2020 after a three-year renovation, has been consistently booked for two weeks.

Of course, no one will mistake Denver’s seven city courses for Augusta National and bless the golf gods for them. They’re cheap (you can play for just $ 20), simple (lower the barrier to entry into a frustrating game), and unpretentious (no golf shoes? No collared shirt? No problem!). It’s not the Masters, but these features attract Coloradans who just want to have fun. Imagine. —Spencer Campbell

Spencer Campbell, feature editor

Spencer Campbell writes functions and edits service packages.

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