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Muffy Davis Relishes Hall of Fame Honor as She Looks Forward to Her Own Statue
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Sculptor Ben Victor unveiled this maquette, showing what his bronze sculpture of Muffy Davis will look like.
   
Wednesday, September 7, 2022
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

Olympic gold medalist Muffy Davis took her place next to a bunch of GOATs, including swimmer Michael Phelps and alpine skier Lindsay Vonn, as she was inducted into the Olympic and Paralympic Hall of Fame this summer.

Now she’s hoping that a statue honoring her accomplishments will soon take its place alongside statues Sun Valley Olympic medalists Gretchen Fraser and Christin Cooper at Sun Valley’s Festival Meadows.

“This monument is to honor our legacy and inspire future generations,” she said.

 
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Muffy Davis encouraged the adults, as well as the children in the audience, to try on her heavy Paralympic medals.
 

Davis and sculptor Ben Victor unveiled a maquette of the bronze statue a few days ago during a hometown reception honoring Davis’s induction into the Hall of Fame.

The statue would be part of a Row of Champions that would include Sun Valley’s Gretchen Fraser, the first American to win Olympic gold in alpine skiing; Christin Cooper, who won silver at the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics; Susie Corrock, who won bronze in downhill at the 1972 Sapporo Olympics; Picabo Street, who won gold in Super G at the 1998 Nagano Olympics and silver in Downhill at the 1994 Olympics in Norway, and Kaitlyn Farrington, who won gold in Halfpipe at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

“Hopefully we can create world where young women can come and be inspired, and I hope boys will look up to them, just as daughters,” said Victor, who lives in Boise.

The Row of Champions had its genesis in Sun Valley being designated an Olympic training site for all five snow sports—Alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, snowboarding, freestyle and Paralympics, according to Brian Barsotti. When completed, it would be the largest women’s athletic monument in the world.

 
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Muffy Davis’s Hall of Fame award sits next to a 1.5-liter bottle of Chappellet wine. Chappellet, which is a driving force in the Sun Valley Wine Auction each year, created custom-designed, etched, hand-painted wine bottles to help raise money for the statues.
 

The two statues already standing in Festival Meadows attract a lot of Kodak moments. And architects who have proposed plans to make Festival Meadows a little more park like say they could feature the sculptures in a much more attractive setting.

Victor, who describes his work as a gift from God, is considered one of the nation’s premier sculptors with a long list of commissioned sculptures that include Chief Standing Bear, Alexander Hamilton, homesteaders and firefighters.

He joined the ranks of Michelangelo and Bernini by receiving his first large commission at 23. Three years later, he became the youngest artist to place a sculpture in the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol. In 2019 he became the only living artist to have three works in the Statuary Hall and he’s about  to have a fourth placed there—that of Daisy Bates, an NAACP activist who led the fight to desegregate schools in Little Rock, Ark.

Victor’s sculptures, which are one and a quarter size, are noted for their expressive features and exquisite detail. The sculptures on Gretchen Fraser’s sculpture are detailed--right down to the patch on her Olympic uniform and the laces on her leather ski boots. She even wears her goggles on her forehead, a reminder that she skied without goggles in her Olympic gold medal race after her goggles fogged up in the starting gate.

 
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Ben Victor says he’s working on a maquette for Olympic halfpipe snowboarder Katelyn Farrington that would feature her inverted in the air.
 

Victor actually built two sculptures of Gretchen Fraser—one of her standing with skis in hand and the other of her skiing downhill.

Victor admitted that he knew nothing about skiing when he started working on the sculptures. His original model, for instance, sported today’s fat skis, which he spotted on the Internet. Thankfully, he said, Christin Cooper demonstrated how she crouched when racing and showed him where the ski pole should be planted.

“It’s been so inspiring to me to meet with (Christin Cooper and Muffy Davis) and learn about skiing from them,” said Victor.

Completing Our Olympic Ladies Monument is one of the goals of the Idaho Women’s Athletic  Foundation, Davis told those who showed up to honor her. The foundation was created to honor the legacy of female athletes from Idaho and to inspire and empower Idaho’s future athletes and leaders through motivational speeches and scholarships and grants given out for training and competition.

 
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Brian Barsotti said the effort to bring the Olympics Ladies to fruition was delayed by COVID pandemic but now it back on in full force.
 

Davis, who won silver medals in Downhill, Super G and Giant Slalom at the 2002 Paralympic Games in Salt Lake City and a silver medal in Slalom at the 1998 Paralympics in Nagano, told those assembled that it was surreal being inducted into the Hall of Fame alongside Phelps, Vonn, Mia Hamm and others.

“No one dreams of being inducted into the Hall of Fame. You dream of winning medals,” said Davis who also won three gold medals in hand cycle at the 2012 London Olympics.

Davis told listeners as they sipped fresh strawberry lemonade and Proseco that it was the community that helped her get through “a really hard time” after she was paralyzed in a ski training accident at 16.

“They showed me I could still get out there and be the person I was meant to be. And, finally, I got that coveted gold medal—three of them.”

Davis noted that before the accident she hated living in such a small community because kids couldn’t get away with anything.

“As a parent I love it,” she said, grinning at her own teenager Elle. “I went away for a while, but I came back because I wanted my daughter to know this special community and it’s my hope that she will grow up and raise her children here.

TO CONTRIBUTE TO OUR OLYMPIC LADIES MONUMENT, contact Brian Barsotti at 208-726-3030. Or make checks payable to Bald Mountain Rescue Fund at Box 370, Ketchum, ID 83340.

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