Mormon athletes pay tribute to their fathers

Published: Thursday, June 12 2014 1:10 p.m. MDT

Collie is grateful for the confidence, diligent work ethic and never-quit attitude ingrained in him by his father and mother.

“The one thing my parents did very well was instill confidence in us that we could set goals, and if we worked hard enough, we could reach them, that we were capable, that we were better than we probably thought we were,” Collie said. “That has gone a long way for us, not only in football, but in everyday life.”

Chris Fogt

When Chris Fogt and his bobsled team crashed and finished last in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, it was his father, William “Bill” Fogt, who lifted him from the discouraging gloom and helped set him on the path to a bronze medal in the 2014 Sochi Games.

“You train for years, your family and friends are watching, then you crash. It was humiliating as well as humbling,” Fogt said. “My dad was the first to say, 'We are still proud of you for what you accomplished. You still represent USA and are part of an elite group of athletes that call themselves Olympians.' He has always been supportive, positive and optimistic.”

Bill Fogt was stationed in Germany with the U.S. military when he joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He eventually attended Brigham Young University, married his wife, Janet, and pursued a career as a seminary and institute teacher.

While Chris Fogt has learned many lessons from his father that have benefitted him in athletic competition, one of the most powerful was a lesson in charity.

When Fogt was in high school, his father accepted a job in Boston. To prepare for the move, the family organized a garage sale. That day, the future Olympian witnessed something that has always stayed with him.

During the sale, a family pulled up in an old, beat-up truck. Their appearance suggested they came from humble circumstances, Fogt said. The family expressed interest in buying a dresser priced at $50.

Anticipating a higher cost of living in Boston, combined with his father's teaching salary and a family with eight children, Fogt knew his parents were in need of money. Yet he saw his father load the dresser into the truck free of charge. His dad then handed the man $20 for gas.

“I don’t think we made any money in the whole sale. He basically gave everything away. We were poor, losing money, yet he still had it in his heart to help and serve people,” Fogt said. “That’s one thing I’ve taken with me. I’ve always tried to be charitable toward other people in all walks of life.”

Jeremy Guthrie

Steve Guthrie has never been prone to giving big pep talks or offering instructional tips to his athletic children, but he has always been committed to showing up for their games.

With three sons playing three sports and a daughter playing volleyball, there were a lot of games over the years. Yet Jeremy Guthrie, a pitcher for the Kansas City Royals, can’t remember a time when his parents didn’t show up for a family member’s sporting event.

“Thankfully, their schedules allowed for that,” Guthrie said. “Clearly, there was also a high level of commitment on their end to do that.”

Guthrie recalled one weekend during his senior year of high school when his parents attended his game in Oregon on Friday night, then drove more than eight hours to see his brother Chad play for Southern Oregon University the next day in Washington. After the game, they traveled home in time to attend LDS Church meetings on Sunday.

When Guthrie played baseball for Stanford, his parents consistently made the six-hour drive for several months each season.

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