And that’s Sarah Holm, a member of the U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing National Development Team. This year, she won the Steven J. Ricci Award, which recognizes athletes who exemplify team leadership and sportsmanship. To understand Sarah’s journey fully, though, we need to take a step back.
A Bond With Her Dad
Sarah’s dad started taking her skiing when she was just 5. She took up racing. Skiing was their bond.
When she was 11, Sarah was diagnosed with a spinal tumor. She continued to ski, even though she couldn’t feel her legs for nearly six years. She needed to have part of her spinal cord removed, and she lost much of the function in her legs.
Her Wish: To Ski Again
Make-A-Wish Wisconsin volunteers met Sarah to find out her one true wish: I wish to go ski again.
Her wish granters got her adaptive ski equipment. Soon, she was on her way to Breckenridge Ski Resort to learn how to use it. Sarah bonded with her monoski quickly. The runs at Breckenridge gave her the thrill that she only gets from skiing … and the warmth that comes from having her dad at her side.
She did so well with the monoski that she took up racing again. She eventually came to the attention of the U.S. Paralympic ski team.
Quest for Russia
I’ve followed Sarah’s progress for years. And it hasn’t always been smooth sailing. More than a few of her email updates brings news of a setback or an injury. No matter what, her optimism never fades. Every update contains a “nothing will hold me down for long” spirit.
This is from Sarah’s latest update:
The races at Copper Mtn which were in early December didn't quite go as planned. I only ended up racing 2 out of the 4 days due to being sick and ending up in the ER with Bronchitis and an upper respiratory infection. (All is well now) However, the days I did race I did very well beating other competitors from Australia, Japan, Iceland and Great Britain.
I went home Dec 22-27 for a short Christmas break. The next set of races I had were Jan 1-3, 2014 at Winter Park (My home training hill). It was one of the best races I have ever had. I ended up getting two 3rd place finishes and one 2nd place finish over the 3 days of racing, again beating competitors from Japan, Great Britain, Iceland and some of my teammates on Team USA :)
Now onto the big news! There is going to be a World Cup race Jan 17-20 at Copper Mtn. My race points are very close to being "world cup" qualified. With that said my coaches and my skiing have gotten me a wild card to compete at this world cup. This will be my first ever World Cup race and I couldn't be more excited!!!
Thank you all for the support! I will update again in a couple weeks :)
For me, no sports news would be better than hearing that Sarah has earned a spot on the Paralympics team that represents the United States in Sochi.
She is proof of the all the possibilities that exist in every Make-A-Wish experience.