Olympians Win the Gold in Their REALTOR® Families’ Hearts

While a few U.S. Olympians in Sochi, Russia, are celebrating bringing home the gold, their real estate families back at home are making room on the mantle for their prestigious awards.

That seems to be a familiar storyline in Park City, Utah, where a number of members of the Park City Board of REALTORS® are watching as their sons, daughters, and brothers compete in the Winter Olympics. They’ve got a lot to be proud of: Two Olympians with real estate families in Park City have taken the top honor for their events, while a third isn’t coming home with a medal — but she landed in the history books.

Linsey Van and her father, Barry. (Credit: Courtesy of Barry Van)

Barry Van, GRI, AFR, BPOR
Keller Williams Park City Real Estate
Daughter: Lindsey Van
Lindsey’s Olympic results: Ranked 15th, Ski Jumping Women’s Normal Hill

Lindsey Van might not have had the greatest showing at her event on Feb. 11, but she can still claim victory. This was the first year ever that ski jumping — traditionally a male sport — was open to female competitors at the Olympics. And Lindsey was one of the trailblazers who helped to break the barrier.

A few years ago, she was one of several plaintiffs in a lawsuit brought against the organizers of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. At the time, only men were allowed to compete in ski jumping events at the Olympics, and the plaintiffs argued that the policy was a violation of their rights. The lawsuit wasn’t successful, but the Olympics Committee announced in 2011 that a female ski jumping event on the normal hill would be hosted at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

“I’m glad that it’s an event, but they still need to add the large hill and team event,” Lindsey’s father, Barry Van, says of the International Olympic Committee’s role in opening up ski jumping events to women at the Games. “Work’s not over.”

Still, he’s celebrating the accomplishment Lindsey made this year. He says he’s even used her status as an Olympian in some of his real estate marketing materials. Heck, maybe she could even use it to her own advantage in real estate. After all, she might have some skin in that game.

Lindsey is a licensed referral agent, having gotten her license in 2004, Barry says. “I sent my brother and daughter to real estate school so they could get their license, because this is important stuff you need to know,” he adds.

But does that mean she’s eyeing a future in real estate?

“Probably not, but who knows?” Barry says. “She keeps her license current.”

Sage Kotsenburg, right, and his brother, Blaze. (Credit: Courtesy of Blaze Kotsenburg)

Steve and Blaze Kotsenburg
Summit Sotheby’s International Realty
Son, brother: Sage Kotsenburg
Sage’s Olympic results: Gold medalist, Men’s Snowboarding Slope-Style

Sage Kotsenburg took home the first gold medal of this year’s Winter Olympics, and his family couldn’t be more proud. His father, Steve, and brother, Blaze, both agents with Summit Sotheby’s International Realty in Park City, have been celebrating Sage’s win with their REALTOR® friends and family.

“It’s still crazy with all that has been going on since Sage won the gold medal — but a good crazy,” Steve says. “I think we’re still speechless and taking it all in.

“The REALTOR® community has been very supportive from here in Park City and all over the country,” he continues. “We have gotten emails from other REALTORS® from around the U.S. and celebrating with us. It’s amazing and means so much to us to hear from them, and also that they share this with us as a fellow REALTOR®.”

Sage’s brother, Blaze, says he was just excited to see Sage go to Sochi and represent the talents of his snowboarding community back home. “Park City is built around the skiing and snowboarding lifestyle, so it means a lot to the whole town that Sage brought the gold home for snowboarding,” he says.

Though both Steve and Blaze say they don’t know Sage to have any aspirations to enter the real estate world, they’re grateful for the positive impact his celebrity is having on their businesses.

“I think we have seen a little more action in leads after Sage won, and that probably has to do with the name recognition,” Blaze says. Steve agrees that Sage’s name has given his and Blaze’s real estate businesses some attention, but added that they had no plans to include Sage in their marketing plans.

“Sage is all about having fun and enjoying what he does,” Steve says. “Blaze and I are the same with our business: We enjoy and have fun with the many people we have met, and we focus on being honest and trustworthy and doing a good job for all our clients.”

Ted Ligety at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. (Credit: Mark H. Prothro)

Bill Ligety, GRI, CRS
Summit Sotheby’s International Realty
Son: Ted Ligety
Ted’s Olympics results: Gold medalist, Alpine Skiing Men’s Giant Slalom

Bill Ligety, an agent with Summit Sotheby’s International Realty, was a little nervous for his son, Ted, as he set off for Sochi. Ted was a surprise winner of the Men’s Alpine Skiing Super Combined competition during the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

“This year, there was a huge expectation that Ted would win at least one medal — and maybe three,” Bill says. “Ski racing is very unforgiving, and favorites often do not win.”

So when Ted pulled off winning the gold medal for the giant slalom competition in Sochi, Bill and his real estate family erupted in celebration.

“I am lucky to have many friends and supporters who have known Ted since he was born. My real estate associates got together the night Ted won for a party to watch the event on TV. The son of another associate in my office, Sage Kotsenburg, also won a gold medal in Sochi, so the town has plenty to celebrate.

Graham Wood

Graham Wood is a senior editor for REALTOR® Magazine. He can be reached at gwood@realtors.org.

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