It’s 6:30 in the morning, looking outside, all you can see is cars heavily topped with fresh snow from the blizzard that took over town the night before. By now, only a few people have woken up, but that’s not the case for Jamie Stanton. By this time he has already started his day with a quick fix of productiveness, a bowl of cereal, and a long stretch on his stationary bike before hitting the ski slopes up in the mountains of Colorado where he trains for a couple of hours.
Every winter, he makes sure that the bases of his skis tastes the texture of the snow; that he feels the bite of the cold on his face. It’s the adrenaline and the exhilaration that makes his everyday routine an adventure. Once he’s sufficed his thirst for snow, it’s the gym’s turn that awaits his presence for another hour and a half of training. At age 17, Jamie moved to Colorado to prepare himself to compete in Sochi 2014 at the winter Paralympic Games. During his debut, unluckily, he couldn’t keep up with the strongest competitors and missed the opportunity to feel the power of the podium placing sixth in the Super-G event, 13th in Super Combined and 22nd in the Slalom disciplines.
Yet, that didn’t stop him at all, Stanton is tenacious and bountiful, and for a young guy like him, it’s extraordinary to see someone with a set of sports values so high. The guy is the true definition of discipline, at its utmost. Not too shabby either, he’s a team guy as well, for Jamie it’s imperative to have a close relationship with his fellow mates.
“This is a job, and these are the people you work with around all the time. I became very good friends with Thomas Walsh [also competing in Pyeongchang along him], although on the course we are rivals, is a funny way to balance friendship and competition” he said.
Not everything has been on the up-and-up from the young athlete. In fact, he has gotten his fair share of darkness too. Exactly two years ago, he broke his left ankle and his tibia into three pieces in the World Cup Finals in Aspen, Colorado in what seemed was going to be the culmination of his career. Despite these serious setbacks, and with a dogged strength of mind Jamie did not give up, that’s not part of his nature, doing what a true athlete does when life presents them with adversity, he persevered, took on the challenge a made a glorious comeback, stronger, focused, hungrier than before.
“It’s been a lot to balance, school and skiing. In order to do both, my biggest win is create a schedule and stick to it. It takes a lot of planning and preparation. I can’t complain because I’ve had had the best years of my life.”
Jamie has proven himself that he can tackle any hurdle, and move on without looking back. After winning three World Championships and securing a spot on the U.S. Paralympic Alpine ski team. This time around—and at the age of 23—he has his sights set on winning. One could sense the experience for ups-and-downs of the ‘sport life’ has improved massively his attitude and his competitive mindset:
“I put my heart and soul in the last four years, day in and day out. In the gym, around the mountains. All set to one goal, to win a medal in Korea. That’s the biggest difference from Sochi.”
The professional skier, and future trader on Wall Street—he obtained his degree in finance from the University of Denver last December—is more than ready to face the South Korean slopes. He’s been training hard for this moment, the young man only has a couple of opportunities to make it right and possibly bring the desired medal for the American team. On Monday March 12th his performance on the Giant slalom wasn’t as he was hoped—he came in 17th.
On Tuesday March 13, Stanton got a second taste of the course, coming in fourth-place finish in the men’s standing super combined signaled his highest placing ever at the Paralympic Winter Games. He etched a time of 1:29.80 in the super-G portion of the event to enter the slalom 10th overall. Yet, sports are unpredictable and fate happens, he still has two upcoming events—Slalom (March 14) and Giant Slalom—to turn the unfortunate around and dominate, and conquer, The Jeongseon Alpine Centre.
“I’m trying not to put pressure on myself, just go out there, have the time of my life, enjoy the experience and putting down the best run that I can in the mountain”
Whether Jamie finds his medal moment in Pyeongchang or not, the fruits of his hard labor will for sure pay off. Whatever happens from here. Having competed at the Paralympics will continue keeping his spirit lifted for years. One does not become a Paralympian for nothing. Jamie has come a long way since his parents were inspired for their son by a feature of a young boy running with a prosthetic leg in a magazine. Immediately they were encouraged and decided that the boy from Michigan had also the ability to overcome and achieve anything he wanted.