Indiana is not often a state that produces Winter Olympic athletes, but this year is certainly an exception. Nick Goepper, the 19-year-old Freestyle Skier that is headed to Sochi in this years Winter Olympics, is an Indiana native, and has taken the freestyle skiing world by storm.
An Unlikely Sport- 19-year-old Nick Goepper is from Lawrenceburg, Indiana, located about an hour and a half south of Indianapolis. He is the oldest of 4 children, and started skiing at the age of 5. He will be competing in freestyle skiing at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia this February. Goepper just recently won the gold medal at the 2014 Winter X Games in Colorado. Growing up in Indiana, the biggest slope nearby was just a 300-foot mountain, nothing compared to the slopes in Utah, Vermont, and all the well-known ski slope training areas. Many people from Nick’s hometown thought he was crazy for not taking up the state’s most popular sport: basketball. He was passionate about skiing, and sold candy bars to his schoolmates and mowed lawns for extra cash to support his training. At age 13, he built his own ski slope in his backyard to train with. On December 21, 2013, Nick secured a spot on the Olympic team with his second-place finish at the U.S. Grand Prix slope style skiing contest at Copper Mountain. He has been training intensely at Windells Academy.
Predicting the Outcome– As a new comer at the Winter Olympics, Nick is up against some big names in skiing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. As we have seen from past Olympic games, young athletes have the capability of winning the gold medal just as much as the seasoned professionals do. A perfect example of this is Tara Lipinski, the 15-year-old figure skater at the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, who took home the gold medal after a flawless long program. Even if Goepper doesn’t take home the gold, I predict he will at least win the silver medal. Competition doesn’t seem to make him nervous, as he has won some major ski competitions as a rookie, competing against big-name professional skiers. He has won back-to-back gold medals at the X Games two years in a row. (2013-2014) Nick has some tricks up his sleeve; such as the triple he landed at the X Games that ended up giving him the first place win. If he pulls this tough stunt out at the Olympics and lands it cleanly, he has a good chance of winning the gold.
Nick Goepper is sure to make Indiana proud this Olympic season, whether he brings home a gold medal or not. We all wish him luck in the next couple of weeks, and will be watching him proudly!