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Omischl gets own billboard

Steve Omischl normally blows away the competition as, arguably, the top free style skier in the world. But the North Bay native says he was the one blown away Monday night during a surprise visit to the committee meeting of council.





























Steve Omischl normally blows away the competition as, arguably, the top free style skier in the world.

But the North Bay native says he was the one blown away Monday night during a surprise visit to the committee meeting of council.

Omischl has already won three World Cups, but city council presented him with something that showed he’s truly arrived: his own billboard.

Truly an ambassador
Mayor Vic Fedeli started things by saying there was “a very special guest” at the meeting.

“Steve Omischl, can you join us?” Fedeli asked in a louder than normal voice.

A moment passed before Omischl emerged from the council antechamber clutching a crystal World Cup trophy in each hand. He received a 30-second standing ovation from the audience.

“We are just so deeply, deeply proud of what you have accomplished, but more than that what you’ve done for North Bay,” said Fedeli, who added Omischl had once been his paper boy many years ago.

“You are truly an ambassador for us and we wanted to be able to say ‘thank you’ in a small way tonight.”

Blown away
Rather than present Omischl with a plaque or certificate, Fedeli said “we thought we’d share some of your moments with the entire community by erecting a billboard in your honour.”

Fedeli then showed Omischl a small version of the billboard which shows him holding a trophy in one part, and twisting high in the air in another.

“Wow,” was all Omischl could say before the audience heartily applauded him a second time.

“To be honest, I’m blown away, thank you council members, thank you Vic,” Omischl then said.

“It was an incredible season and truly an honour to be presented with this tonight."

Culminate his career
Ten years ago, Omischl said, he “never would have believed” that a “small town kid” who started off skiing at Laurentian Hill, now Jack Pine Hill, “would be in the position I am in now."

He thanked his family, a large contingent of which was in the audience, as well as friends, past coaches and financial supporters.

Omischl said afterward he plans to continue freestyle skiing and will culminate his career at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

“After that,” Omischl said, “there won’t be a closet deep enough for me to store my skis in.”
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