There's a lot to be proud of when we consider all Jay Hakkinen has done. The Kasilof native has been around the world and back again representing the Peninsula and Alaska through biathlon.
We were made even more proud when the four-time Olympian decided to recently come back to the Peninsula to host a series of clinics on the sport to which he's dedicated his life.
Last week, Hakkinen spoke at length about what it takes to become an athlete and train for the Olympics. It was a great example of hard work and dedication in action for those youth who attended.
It's great to see Hakkinen come back and share his experiences with the community at large. We know he is training for his fifth Olympics and it's great to see him make time to invest back in the community. We'd also like to extend a thank you to the other volunteers who helped with the clinics too.
Those youth who attended the event were obviously engaged in what Hakkinen had to say and many of them had little to no experience in the sport of biathlon.
Hakkinen said he hoped the clinics would be the seed needed to grow a local biathlon program, facilities and create a base of interest in the sport locally.
We support that vision and would encourage the community and its organizations to mull the idea. We seem to have all the ingredients needed to produce top biathletes. We already do a great job with other winter sports and ideally we'd like to give students an expanding array of opportunities to pursue.
However, our greatest hope is that Hakkinen's presence in the area illustrates to young and old that we can accomplish big dreams if we work hard enough. As he put it himself, those who work the hardest and develop the most win. That's a lesson we should stick in our back pocket for good.