Paralympic greats honor those who inspired them

Posted By: The Ski Channel on April 12, 2010 7:20 am

Superstar Paralympic Alpine Ski team athletes Stephani Victor (sit-ski) and  Alana Nichols (sit-ski) have inspired many physically disabled athletes to take charge of their athletic careers and be as great as they can possibly be.

Now, they will have the chance to thank the people who inspired them to do the same. U.S. Olympic Team ring licensee O.C. Tanner and the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) chose Victor and Nichols, as well as wheelchair curler James Joseph, to give an O.C. Tanner Inspiration Award (a 14K gold ring) to their mentors.

For Victor, her mentor is her coach/husband. He taught her how to ski after she lost her legs in a car accident. Nichols wishes to honor grandmother, who was her biggest inspiration after Nichols became paralyzed in a snowboarding accident.

Victor spoke about her husband: “In Marcel’s presence, I was immediately filled with his passion for skiing and life,” she said. “I will never forget our first chairlift ride together. He explained his ‘more ability’ philosophy and I knew this man saw me for the person I am and not for what had happened to me. He encouraged me to believe in myself and strive for excellence in all areas of my life.”

Charlie Huebner, Chief of Paralympics for the USOC, describes the significance of the event: “Behind every Paralympic dream there are family members, friends, coaches and others who inspire and support our athletes. These mentors have changed lives and they deserve tremendous honor and celebration. We appreciate O.C. Tanner creating this award and giving our athletes such a meaningful way to recognize those who have helped them succeed”.