While I was growing up, every two years when the Winter Olympics would come around, I would get more and more excited. Not only did it mean I would get to stay up past my bedtime to watch the games, but it was more time to spend with my dad cheering for the fastest skiers, bobsledders and snowboarders. And every time downhill ski races started, I was reminded of my dad’s passion for skiing and his successful past races.
For as long as I can remember, my dad’s skis and ski poles have been hung up on our basement wall, along with photos of him participating in downhill ski races. Whenever I see this memorabilia, I’m reminded of my dad’s passion for the sport. And I’ve come to know a lot about it through the stories he’s told.
My dad has been skiing since he was 3 years old. When he was 6, he decided he was going to be in the Olympics — and he nearly was.
He participated in the Federation of International Skiing, competing in races across the East and West Coasts. He trained in Italy and France in preparation to try out for the Olympics. He spoke with the owner of a gym and an owner of a ski shop in Washington state who agreed to sponsor him in future events.
Then, my dad tried out for the 1988 winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada. He competed for a spot as a downhill skier. But due to a bad shoulder injury, he could no longer hold his tuck and was not able to continue skiing.
When I was young, my dad took me to the Pocono Mountains to teach me how to ski like him. I wasn’t very good at it, and I never found the determination to try again or further get into the sport.
Despite not being able to share in the intensity of the sport itself with my dad, I get to share in his passion while we watch the Olympics together every four years. I was always fascinated by the Olympics, both winter and summer. But the winter games always held a special place in my heart, especially skiing.
When I first became interested in the Olympics, I had hundreds of questions about competing, trying out and having the dedication to get there. Being able to hear the answers to these questions through my dad’s experiences fascinated me more.
My dad’s able to humbly talk about his past with the sport. But when I was younger, I loved to brag about his success and passion for skiing — I do a little now, too.
I spent the weekend at home around the start of the Winter Olympic games, and I got to watch different skiing competitions with my dad. We were not watching downhill ski races, but as always, it was heartwarming to be able to celebrate successful skiers with him, and I will always hold onto my memories of learning about skiing and the Olympics as a young girl through my dad’s stories.