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Bountiful elementary school performs musical honoring two Utah Olympians

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Posted at 10:20 PM, Feb 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-29 00:20:03-05

BOUNTIFUL, Utah -- Two Utah Olympians, both facing major challenges, overcame the odds in pursuit of a dream.

Now, elementary school students in Bountiful are telling their stories in musical form.

“Good as Gold”, the triumph of two Utah Olympians, played out on the Valley View Elementary School stage.

Olympic bobsledder Steven Holcomb and skeleton racer Noelle Pikus-Pace had their stories told.

“It’s an original musical written by parents here of students at the school, and it's been an amazing adventure,” said Tiffany Smith, who produced "Good as Gold."

Pikus-Pace was on top heading into the 2006 Olympics in Torino, Italy, until an accident changed everything.

“A bobsled came crashing down and hit her and crushed her leg just three weeks before the Olympics,” Smith said.

Pikus-Pace fought back from the injury.

“She really needed that skeleton, and her family really realized that, and so then they put her back in the sled and she came back to win the silver in Sochi," Smith said.

For Holcomb, a rare eye disease nearly destroyed his Olympic dreams.

“Keratoconus, which is a disease of the cornea, the outer lens of the eye, and when it gets weakened it bulges out like a hernia, and it causes a tremendous amount of distortions in vision,” Dr. Boxer-Wachler said.

Eye doctors told Holcomb he needed a cornea transplant, but the recovery time would have ended his hopes for gold.

So the Olympic team turned to Doctor Brian Boxer-Wachler, hoping to find an alternative.

“We used little implants to improve his vision, and he was with 2020 vision afterwards,” Boxer-Wachler said.  “At the 2010 winter Olympics in Vancouver he won Olympic gold, and it was just a transformation how he was afterwards."

The doctor was one of the audience members at the performance.

“I just couldn’t pass up this opportunity,” he said. “He’s been so inspirational to millions of people around the world, not just with keratoconus but with any kind of challenge. It’s just been a great honor and humbling to be a part of that story.”

And for the students, it’s an important lesson about following dreams.

“Some dreams happen right away, some dreams have to wait, the big thing is that if it's something that you want to pursue, if things get in the way, that’s OK, but just keep going after it," Smith said.

Parents and teachers say they have been working on the musical since May of last year. It stars 95 students performing in two different casts.