Meet the Athletes: Zach Miller

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First sports memory?

“I was 8 years old, riding the Winter Park chairlift to go skiing when I saw a group of snowboarders going through the park. It looked so fun, I told my instructor I had to go there. As I got better, I heard about a USASA regional race I could enter to try my hand at racing, and when I won it, I knew I become a snowboarder.”

Earliest memory of watching the Olympics/Paralympics?

“It was watching our girls dominate in beach volleyball when I was in college watching with friends. The pride and excitement I felt was incredible, but I had no idea that the Paralympic Games existed.”

Specific decisive moment?

“I realized I could compete at a high level once I got my first medal in Dubai – yes, Dubai. It was the start of a stellar season where I won eight medals for the United States States, including one at the world championships!”

What would you change in your sport?

“More people! It’s more fun when you have big parentheses and can do four at a time.”

Who is your coach?

“My development coach Daniel Gale is practically my second dad. I met him at a very young age at Ski Spectacular and have been working with him for over a year now.”

Who do you socialize with the most in your sport?

“My teammates! We’re all close friends.”

The most interesting teammate?

mike shultz. After his accident, he was told he wouldn’t ride again because the technology behind the prostheses just wasn’t there. He went back to his garage and started designing what would be the best action sports prosthetics on the market today!”

Close friends with competitors?

“I’m good friends with Ben Tudhopea kid from Australia who is my age and the only other driver with cerebral palsy on the circuit.”

Biggest rival?

Keith Gabel and Ben Tudhope. We are still fighting for podium places but you never know what will happen! We’re super friendly about it and banging on doors before every race.”

Have you ever worked with a sports psychologist?

“I love working with sports psychologists, they have helped me a lot to understand myself in competition and helped me learn techniques to ensure optimal and consistent performance under pressure.”

Big hurdle you overcame?

“Learning to slow down and listen to my body. CP is very hard to deal with when I push myself, and I had to learn to listen to my body and prioritize stretching and recovery to not hurt myself.”

Your biggest fear in competition?

“I fear that at any time I could lose snowboarding forever. I’ve already lost several teammates and friends to racing, and it’s hard to be faced with the harsh reality of how dangerous it is to do this. that we do.”

Olympic/Paralympic model?

“I can’t name just one, because so many people have inspired me to be a part of it!”

Summer Olympic buddy?

“I’m thrilled to join them all as a teammate at the 2022 Games!”

Your biggest influence in/out of sport?

“My trainer Daniel Gale. He took me under his wing and taught me how to be a great athlete on and off the snow. More importantly, he taught me to have a good attitude and to laugh even when it sucks.”

Any advice you would give to a young athlete?

“Save! It’s expensive but worth it!”

Do you practice other sports?

“I love football! I’ve played it all my life and the footwork also helps me when I’m on set!”

Which summer Olympic/Paralympic event would you like to try?

” Handball. This sport looks like crazy fun! »

Have you ever been told you won’t succeed?

“Almost everyone had something to say when I told them I was going snowboarding. My doctors, my friends and even my teachers told me to ‘focus on safer routes.’ many of their concerns were rooted in truth, but I found ways to play to my strengths and find speed without weight.”

Pre-competition rituals?

“No. Every day is a different day.”

How did you discover adapted sport?

“Through the sports program at Children’s Hospital. My doctors recommended it to me because I was so competitive with my therapy.”

Tell us about your disability.

“I left hemiplegic cerebral palsy, it’s congenital.”

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