STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. (KDVR) — Her story is one that has caught the attention of many.
“You have a moment of contact with Paige VanArsdale, you hear a bit of her story, and it’s inspiring,” said Lara Branca, VanArsdale’s Charge running coach.
Twenty-one-year-old Paige VanArsdale is a swimmer, a skier, a runner. She’s an athlete with a humble attitude, but if she had to choose just one sport, it would be ski racing.
“Steamboat where I’m from is Ski Town USA. I mainly just picked ski racing because it’s calm and relaxing,” said Paige VanArsdale.
Skiing wasn’t always easy for VanArsdale, as she was born with cerebral palsy, but in 2021, she had reconstructive surgery on her right leg, which was shorter than her left.
“Even though that was a long surgery, seven hours, the outcome was really good because she could be active and ski without pain,” said Melissa VanArsdale, Paige’s mom.
Nine years later, 2021 has already been good to Paige as she competed in a ski race in Winter Park at the beginning of January, getting her one step closer to her goals.
“I am thinking I am not going to go to school this next semester because I am going to focus on my ski racing,” said Paige. “I am training for the next paralympic competition that’s in 2022 in Beijing. That has been my goal [and] one of my biggest dreams.”
Paige’s dreams of going to the 2022 Paralympics has hit the hearts of many, including her virtual running coach from the app Charge.
“Hearing about the actual struggles she’s had, the real-world challenges she has overcome, to be where she is at as an athlete,” said Branca, Paige’s virtual running coach. “She has that real quality of not only grace and grit, but that powerhouse athletic fortitude that is really rare and it’s really beautiful.”
With all of 2021 to hopefully get to Beijing, Paige has an enormous amount of people in her corner.
“I want to see her up on that podium in 2022, and I hope all of us can help try and get her there,” said Branca.
The 2022 Winter Paralympics will be held in Beijing, China, March 4 of 2022 through March 13.