At the age of 21, most people are still figuring out the formula to life. Most people have only just opened a bank account, started an internship and more than likely still living with their parents. While some of this may still be true for South Africa’s Connor Wilson, the thing that sets him apart from “most people” is that he’s found his passion and purpose, and he has represented his country at a major sporting event! What makes it even more remarkable is that he was the ONLY representative!
Wilson represented South Africa at the recent Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in the Men’s Slalom category, and even though he didn’t make it past the initial stages, he can still hold his head up high for getting there and competing. Chances are he’ll be even better in four years when the winter Olympics come around again!
With South Africa being a country where it very rarely snows, the big question has to be “how does a South African train for the winter Olympics?”
Wilson started skiing at the tender age of just five years old and took up alpine skiing while in the United States at the Eaglebrook School over a two-year period. The bug had bitten and Wilson was not going to let skiing just be hobby he gets to do occasionally. In fact, upon his return to South Africa, he had to drive six hours from Durban to the Afriski Resort in Lesotho where he was trained by overseas coaches. After school, Wilson took a gap year and studied at the Carrabassett Valley Academy and trained on the frosty Sugarloaf Mountain in the state of Maine.
He had some inspiring words directed at those who have a love for skiing, but not sure how to go about making it a realistic goal:
“I want developing skiers in South Africa to see that coming from a country that doesn’t have snow most of the year or fancy training facilities doesn’t mean you can’t compete in competitions such as the Olympics…The Olympics is a possibility if you put in the work.”
He’s an athlete who has a love for his sport and for his country and his is a name that needs to be remembered because he will no doubt be a formidable force the next time the winter Olympics roll around!
Morné Esben – Senior Reporter and Anchor, Smile90.4 FM News