Twin brothers Blake and Kirby Davis shared the same Olympic dream. And both wanted to do it in honor of Dan Cardillo, a very close friend the Davis brothers who died in a skiing accident at the age of 14.
Cardillo was pursuing his own dream of becoming an Olympic skier when he lost control and hit a tree on the icy slopes of Vermonts Sugarbush Mountain.
Cardillo, at the time an eighth-grade student at Falmouth Middle School, was attending Waterville Valley (N.H.) Ski Academy as part of an Eastern Region Elite Junior-3 training program when he died.
Word of the tragedy spread to the headquarters of the U.S. Ski Association team in Park City, Utah, where a decision was made to dedicate New England's regional USSA Junior Olympics to the young skier's memory.
That was the beginning of a number of events and awards presented in honor of the memory of Dan Cardillo.
Another one is the Dan Cardillo Memorial 5K which is run every September in Maine.
Kirby Davis, along with Brent Noyes, organized the first race in Dan's memory back in 1999.
According to race manager Jim McCorkle, who has been involved with more than 200 races in Maine, the field of 694 runners in the inagural field was the largest ever for a first-time 5K race in Maine.
Some $12,000 was raised that year for the Daniel Cardillo Charitable Fund, which provides scholarships to spirited young people, enabling them to attend inspirational, educational, leadership, art, music or athletic programs.
"Dans death shook up everyone in town," Blake Davis said after the first race. "He was a very close friend. But it gave all Falmouth athletes a reason to work harder and to do so in his honor. Dan also ran track; he was a sprinter. And whenever he raced he would run as hard as possible because he had a thought that every race was going to be his last race. That's the way he approached skiing. And that mentality is carried over to what I am doing now."
The year that Dan Cardillo died, a Citizenship Award was set up in his name for the eighth-graders at the middle school. Blake Davis won that award.
"It was such a special honor," Blake said. "Dan and I had been friends for a long time. We were together in day care when we were 5. He was a great athlete. And we want to keep his memory alive with events and activities as well as what we do with our own lives."