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The champion

Posted by & filed under Guest Stories.

Meet James.

He is a truly dedicated and exceptional individual, a Paralympian athlete, a World championship medalist, a U.S. National Champion…and a fierce heli-skiier!

He is one of the truly extraordinary people we get to meet each season at Great Canadian Heli-Skiing.

This is his inspiring story.

James’ leg was broken in a snowmobile accident when he was 5 and had to be amputated below the knee due to complications. That never stopped him from doing any athletic activities during his childhood: he was able to water-ski by the age of 7, played hockey and enjoyed skiing above all other sports.

At the age of 21, James competed in the Michigan Disabled Ski Championships. He trained and competed in Colorado the following season earned his spot on the U.S. Disabled Ski Team in 1988. He competed in five Paralympic competitions and is a four-time Paralympic medalist: he brought two silver and two bronze medals back home to the U.S. He won both silver and bronze medals at the World Championship in 1990 and is a six-time U.S. National Champion.

Medals don’t just happen. It takes an exceptional person to be an Olympian and an even more dedicated person to be a Paralympic champion: one must be determined, focused, committed, physically and mentally tough, while depending on special equipment and prosthetic devices.

While no longer competitively skiing, James remains active in the community and his impact on the sport continues with his involvement in the US Olympic Committee athlete advisory council as a Winter Paralympic Representative.

He now works in the orthotics and prosthetics industry, designing attachments that allow amputee to participate in multiple sports, strongly contributing to the innovations that will make a difference in the reality of amputees and Paralympic athletes of tomorrow.

We salute your courage and determination, are truly inspired by your story and wish we could be surrounded by your above and beyond positive and friendly attitude all year round! You made it to the hall of fame of our heli-family and can’t wait to have you dropping rhymes again in our lounge after a great heli-day in the backcountry!

James (left) and his brother coming back from their heli-skiing day!

James (left) and his brother coming back from their heli-skiing day!

 

 

One Response to “The champion”

  1. Susan Gandall

    You’re an inspiration like my friend Greg Mannino!