Do Alpine skiers hear the echoes of their screaming children when they’re racing down snowy hills at 80 miles per hour? Probably not, but their coaches almost certainly do. And this isn’t some sort of bizarre thought exercise. Four members of the Men’s U.S. Alpine Team headed to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang next month are finding out the hard way while training for the games.
During the offseason, two skiers (Steven Nyman and Ted Ligety) and two coaches (Sasha Rearick and Trudi Anne) on the US Men’s Alpine Skiing team welcomed newborns into their families within a month of each other. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Nyman, who is also the team captain explained that “team life is shifting gears.” According to Ligety, off-the-slope hangouts and team parties have turned into playdates. Team members talk about “ how each other’s babies are sleeping.”
Despite the joy of parenting, balancing fatherhood and the life of a pro athlete is difficult, especially while preparing to compete on the world’s largest stage. Sasha Rearick, the head coach, noted that at the end of the day “you want to support your wife, you want to take care of your child,” but it’s during that time when the skiers absolutely have to rest in they’re to compete at the highest level the next day. For this reason, athletes will not stay with their families during the games.
Two all-consuming things make uncomfortable bedfellows.
While having kids around makes training harder, it has its benefits as well. Nyman said that after a bad knee injury it was his daughter who helped him “throttle back down” after a hard training session. Had it not been for her presence, Nyman, who has won the World Cup three times and is a favorite for gold, says he would have probably overtrained and extended his recovery time.