The Utah Olympic Park and the bobsled, skeleton and luge community lost a valuable member of its family on August 25 when David Dinger, age 45, passed away at his home in Park City after battling renal cell carcinoma since last October.
Dinger, a devoted father to Jack, 13 and Joe, 10, always had an interest in international sports and was a great advocate of sport. He engaged to the fullest by participating as well as being a spectator. He became a fan of Indy Car Racing at age 12. The one word that is consistently used when it comes to Dinger is “passion.” His enthusiasm for life was inspiring and infectious. He loved to learn and loved to share.
His passion for skiing prompted him to move from California to Park City in 1992. He worked winters as Ski Patrol at Park City Mountain Resort and summers at Park Meadows Country Club. Attending “Greens-keeper School” to learn the science of irrigation would later prove to be instrumental in his knowledge of icing the track.
He became involved in sliding sports after receiving a Learn-to-Luge clinic for a birthday gift in December 2001. He immediately got hooked on the sport of luge which lead to his interest in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. He landed a job working on the track and was positioned at “curve 12” for the duration of sliding events. Soon after the Games, he applied for the Track Manager position and was accepted based on his experience that included his career in Public Relations while he lived in California. He dedicated himself to sliding sports, gaining a reputation worldwide of being an “Icemeister” and setting the bar for other tracks around the world.
“David has been our inspirational leader of the Olympic Park track. He had a special ability to bring out the best in his staff, the athletes, and a family of international officials who admired and respected his vision and leadership. It will be an honor and privilege for us to continue operating the track and developing athletes in a way that David worked so hard to see happen,” said Colin Hilton, President of Utah Athletic Foundation.
Respected by his team on the UOP track, athletes around the world and all those in the sport community, Dinger was recognized as a leader in the development of the bobsled, skeleton and luge sports. track. RJ Shannon of UOP said, “Dave was set apart by his passion for athletes. His legacy is yet to be fully realized as it lives on in the hopes and dreams of the athletes he touched.”
The camaraderie on the track, which Dinger considered his second home, was that of close family and friends. Carl Reopke, fellow luge slider and “voice of the track”, fondly remembers David routinely saying “See you at the bottom”.
His remarkable journey to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games where he worked on the track, was inspiring and prompted international media interest. In an interview with CTV while in Vancouver, Dinger said he was concerned about being able to perform, but when he arrived at the track, he thought that maybe it was the excitement that made him feel his old self. After the Gold Medal victory of the USA 4-Man Bobsled Team, bobsled pilot, Steve Holcomb said, “David, this medal is as much yours as it is mine. Night Train would not be what it is today without you”.
David worked tirelessly, in health and during his battle with cancer, to promote the sliding track sports at Utah Olympic Park as a facility where sliding enthusiasts and serious competitors alike could feed their passion for these sports. He had requested before his death that donations be taken in his name to fulfill the purpose and mission stated above, and specifically to purchase equipment so the track and the sliding sports could continue to grow.