8 Questions I Get Asked After A Ski Race

8 Questions I Get Asked After A Ski Race

How do you think my run went?
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I have spent the last month and a half skiing around on the International Paralympic World Cup circuit. The Paralympic alpine world is so small and I honestly love getting to know not only my American teammates but competitors from all over the world. I love that I can learn something from all of my competitors, and I have gotten to know a lot of them quite well from our conversations during race days. Here’s a list of the things I always get asked directly following a ski race.

1. How’d your run go?

This is kind of the question everyone asks right after the race is finished. Whether they actually care about how I skied or if they just feel the need to make some sort of conversation I kind of always answer with a very general “good” or “eh not great” depending on the day.

2. Did the course run well?

Because I am a visually impaired female I always run very early in the race. A lot of times when I come down after running there are male mono skiers sitting at the bottom waiting to head up the mountain for their run. Often the boys will ask us how the course is running. Even though everyone gets to slip through the course at the beginning of the day it’s sometimes hard to predict exactly how it will feel when you are actually charging full speed.

3. Did you see that huge rut in the middle?

This one’s a little ironic because I am blind so no, no I probably did not notice the minimal snow coverage by one of the gates… unless of course it caused me to land on my face, then I probably found out it was there pretty quickly.

4. How far back are you from first?

In some alpine events the racer’s combined time is taken from two race runs. I get this question a lot between the first and second run of the race. I am the type of person that really doesn’t like to look at times in the middle of runs. For me, numbers can be distracting and I find it better for my performance if I ignore the times until both runs of the race have been completed. Because I don’t focus too much on times during the race, I often answer this question with a “well I am not really sure actually” or “you should ask Sadie she can see the scoreboard better than I can.”

5. Are you on the podium today?

To be honest most of the time I have to answer this by saying something like “no didn’t quite do it today” but I guess that makes all the times I get to say “yes we did it today” just a little sweeter.

6. Did you get late in that middle section?

Ski racing is comprised of both technical and tactical perspectives. Technical is the actual position of the skier whereas tactical is being able to execute the fastest line in the course to bring the racer from the top to the bottom as quickly as possible. When racers inspect a course, tactics are often the primary thought and certain courses leave racers prone to different mistakes. I often get asked by other racers how we ran the line or if we had issues in certain sections. I never really know how to answer these questions though because for me I just follow Sadie.

7. How about that finish area?

In order for a race to run, the track on the course must be maintained enough that it is safe for the racers. However, the finish area tends to get overlooked and often does not have very good snow or space to stop after the finish line. One time I came through the finish with some heat and hit bad snow and totally wiped Sadie out! It was funny in retrospect but it can be scary! I think every athlete has their own humiliating finish line stories, so now we make it a point to talk about how we will stop every time we run a race.

8. Did you have fun?

I love when people ask me this question because it is so easy to get caught up in the emotions of ski racing, and forget all about the fact that we do all of this for fun. Having fun ski racing is something Sadie and I strive for every day, and I think it is really important to reflect on. As an elite athlete it is so easy to forget why you fell in love with a sport. I want to be able to have fun skiing for the rest of my life, so if I ever feel like my racing career is ruining skiing for me I will retire. I feel incredibly fortunate that I still love ski racing. Regardless of the times on the board, I almost always have a great time when I get to do what I love.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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Andy Ruiz Jr. May Not Look Like The Typical Boxer, But It Doesn't Make His Victory Any Less Deserved

Andy Ruiz Jr. just proved that dreams can come true.

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On June 1, boxing fans witnessed something special as Andy 'Destroyer' Ruiz Jr. defeated Anthony Joshua via TKO after going seven rounds in the ring at Madison Square Garden in New York City to become the first ever Mexican-American heavyweight champion of the world. Ruiz Jr. (33-1) was a heavy underdog (+1100) heading into the match-up with Joshua (22-1) but ultimately flipped the script to hand the British fighter his first professional loss ever. Surely the fight will go down as one of the greatest moments in sports history.

Some members of the media and fans have been quick to label the fight as a 'fluke' and 'rigged' which in the end is no surprise to me. That always happens in the sports world. Many did not believe we would get this result yet failed to remember the one rule of sports -- expect the unexpected. Over the past week, I've been coming to the defense of Ruiz Jr. in the wake of others choosing to call him a joke.

I was shocked and surprised to hear two of my favorite sports analysts, Stephen A. Smith and Shannon Sharpe, make fun of Ruiz Jr. and frame him as just a guy that looked like 'Butterbean.' When I viewed their tweets on social media it honestly made me upset. Sure, Ruiz Jr. may not have fit the mold of what a professional boxer should look like, but they simply should not have just judged a book by its cover.

Personally, I thought it was disrespectful for Smith and Sharpe to throw shade at Ruiz Jr. in the way they did. I felt like they should have done a better job of acknowledging the winner considering the result of the match. Yet choosing to bash someone because of their physical composition appeared like a low blow. The very foundation of sports allows people of all shapes, sizes, genders, races, and backgrounds to compete -- that's why most people follow them in the first place.

Smith was open behind his reasoning for his tweets in which I'd like to shed some light on. Smith was upset about how boxing time after time contains elements of corruption with fans having to wait years until promoters schedule big fights. He along with other followers of the sport were looking forward to the highly anticipated yet potential future match-up between Joshua and fellow heavyweight Deontay Wilder. Smith believes that by Ruiz Jr. beating Joshua it essentially diminished the chances of that fight ever happening with the same amount of buildup, but that still doesn't provide any excuse for mocking the new heavyweight champ.

Ruiz Jr. was there for a reason and ultimately seized the opportunity that was right in front of him -- that's not his fault for getting the job done. Just because someone doesn't look like the part doesn't mean they don't possess the same qualities and characteristics as their counterparts. The following pair of videos display the amount of talent Ruiz Jr. does have in the ring. Even fellow boxer Canelo Alvarez and former UFC lightweight/featherweight champion Conor McGregor acknowledge that and have come out to say something on their behalf.

Unfortunately, I don't expect much to change because most will stand their ground and continue to behave the same way. All I'm saying is I did not enjoy some of the top figures within sports media stereotyping Ruiz Jr. based on his looks. I would think that we would be better than that and recognize that anyone can accomplish something great in this world. It all just starts with a simple dream.

I understand and respect other people's takes on this subject, maybe I'm looking into things deeper than what they are, but it struck a chord with me and I felt the need to say something about it.

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