It’s probably not a stretch to say most people in the town of Bethel, Maine, have made moguls skier Troy Murphy’s Olympic dream come true.
Murphy, 25, is one of four members of the United States Men’s Moguls ski team for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. When he was a teenager, a friend of his dad asked Murphy’s father Matt how much it cost the family for Troy’s training and competition in pursuit of his Olympic dream.
The answer was $30,000 a year. Not long after that, members of the town of approximately 2,600 people just east of New Hampshire on U.S. Highway 2 banded together to help the family pay for Murphy’s training so he could get to the Olympics one day.
“It almost feels like a city, not a village, because so many people helped me,” he said. “It’s the Bethel community, it’s the Gould Academy community, it’s the Sunday River community, it’s the greater Maine community, it’s the greater New England community. It’s crazy how many people have helped me. . . . It’s actually kind of surreal.”
Asked if he could have gotten this far without the help, Murphy answered emphatically, “No, definitely not.”
The help first started with an auction after that 2010 conversation and then grew to a golf tournament that had 90 participants a year ago. The events raised enough money that it surpassed Murphy’s budget for 2017 and he was able to donate money back to the local ski club.
His coach, Matt Gnoza, told the Press-Herald that the community support Murphy’s received to help his career has made him a better skier; pointing to the way Murphy handles himself when things don’t go right.
“It helps you recognize what you’re trying to do,” he said. “It kept him grounded. … At the end of the day he needs that support from the community and he takes a lot of pride in it.
The support for Murphy’s career has heightened now that he made the Olympics for the first time. His dad works at the high school Murphy went to in the town and it bought his parents tickets to Friday night’s Opening Ceremonies.
Murphy is currently 12th in the Moguls World Cup standings and second among United States skiers. Qualifying for the finals of the event begins Thursday evening and the finals are scheduled for 7 a.m. ET on Monday.
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