Our Olympic Experience
My team mate Jeff Petercsak and I qualified to compete at the Winter Olympics by way of the World Ice Art Championships. We were the highest placing American team placing second in the Realistic Category. The World Championships are in Fairbanks, AK. It was a great honor to be able to represent the United States at the Winter Olympics. This is my second time around, as I was able to compete at the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City as well.
This competition is the hardest event in the world (for ice sculpting) to be invited too. Most teams must earn their spots by winning a qualifier. The USA was represented by 3 teams that were chosen by the winners of the NICA U.S. National Championships and the World Ice Art Championships.
In Vancouver we were given 10 blocks of ice and 12 hours to complete our masterpiece on the first day (two man event). The weather was not great (around 55 degrees!). In the end, all the sculptures held up. The theme was Hope and Dreams. Most teams conformed to this format and were expected to make sculptures that could last two days in warm temperatures. That was a challenge. The second day one team member was to carve a single block of ice in two hours that related to the larger sculpture from the day before and it was to tie the final theme of the weekend of Hope and Dreams.
Our sculpture on the first day was titled “The Dream Catch”, it was a nine foot tall large mouth bass jumping out of the water chasing a double hooked lure. I love carving fish and this was one of my favorite pieces for my competition career. This same design won two NICA regional events in Watervilet, MI and Stowe, VT for the 2010 ice carving competition season.
The bass, to me, was obvious to fit well into the format of Hope and Dreams. I mean what fisherman wouldn’t want to catch a 9 foot bass! The bass would have weighed in over two thousand pounds! The second day was the fun day. It was a less amount of ice and a more relaxed atmosphere in which only one carver was allowed to work on the piece.
The piece for day two was titled “The Dream Catcher”. It was a boy sleeping on the moon that was being held up by a fish tail. The boy had a baseball hat on and a jump suit with rubber boots and a fishing rod slipping out of his hands. Unfortunately, since he was sleeping the big fish would end up getting away from him. But the dream lives on…