Visitors Catch the Olympic Spirit
October/November 2001 IBEW Journal
One of the most coveted souvenirs of the IBEW Convention
was an autographed hockey puck from 2001 Winter Olympic hopeful
and Local 57, Salt Lake City member Mark Hoaglin.
"Weve had the longest line here," said PacifiCorps
Douglas Bennion, who estimates Hoaglin signed as many as 2,000
pucks in the week of the Electrical Industry Exposition and
the 36th International Convention that followed.
Hoaglin, who sat beside a red two-man bobsleigh, has been
a journeyman lineman with Utah Power since 1983. PacifiCorps
subsidiary, Utah Power, is co-sponsoring the 02 Salt Lake
City Winter Games with the IBEW.
A grandfather as well as single father of three children,
Hoaglin, 43, is a former Mr. Utah. But he has overcome many
challenges to see Team USA within his reach today. At the
age of 10, he and his brothers and sisters found themselves
homeless and on the streets. Hoaglin also battled drug abuse
but turned his life around. When he was approached at his
gym a year ago with the opportunity to be a part of the bobsleigh
team, he never looked back.
Because Hoaglin needs to spend several hours lifting, pushing
and doing other exercises that simulate the sport each day,
Utah Power recently relieved him of his duties climbing poles
and now pays his salary and benefits while he trains full
time. Local 57 and other IBEW locals have been contributing
to the four-man teams equipment, training and traveling expenses,
which are significant.
"People think we have sponsors and other forms of support
but we dont," Hoaglin said. "Youre all independent
contractors until you get to the trials. But if you get past
those, thats when you get some help."
Six-time power-lifting champion Hoaglin will put his training
to the test in time trials in December in Park City, Utah.
Between six and 10 teams will compete for the fastest time
down the icy track. Only the two fastest teams, plus one alternate,
will make it onto the USAs Olympic team. And once they make
it, the odds against taking a medal are greattraditionally
countries like Germany, Switzerland and Canada capture the
gold, silver and bronze prizes.
"The Swiss look really tough this year," said Hoaglin,
speaking from his quarters in California where he worked out
with members of the Romanian team. "But you have to remember
these teams have been practicing the sport for hundreds of
years. The U.S. team hasnt medalled in over 60 years."
Even this fall, when Hoaglin should be devoting all of his
free time to working out, hes finding that many hours must
be spent fundraising. He estimates the team is still several
thousand dollars short.
Utah Power will be key to the Salt Lake City Games when they
open on February 8. The companyand IBEW linemen, relay/communications
technicians and mechanicswill be delivering the equivalent
of broadcasting 10 pro football games a day for 17 days.
The IBEW will be present on the field and behind the scenes
at the Olympics. One member of Local 125, Portland, Oregon,
and another member of Local 57 will be participating in the
torch relay leading to the lighting of the flame to open the