This week we have a conversation with Michael Williams from the Jamaican Ski Team. Michael is hoping to represent Jamaica in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Michael has been a member of the National Alpine Ski Team since August 2011. He represented Jamaica in the Participated in World Alpine Championships in Schladming, Austria. Michael is former Track & Field star and played American Football player in Europe. Here is our conversation with Michael.
Q: Tell us about your connection to Jamaica
My Grandmother and mother and her siblings are all born and raised in Jamaica. I am first generation Canadian but proud to grow up in a Jamaican household. I visited my relatives there every summer growing up as a child. I have fond memories of marble races on the driveway of my aunt or going out to catch lizards with friends. Wow!
Q: When did you start alpine skiing?
I started to ski in July 2011. First indoors and then in the Alps.
Q: How is it different from the other types of skiing?
I SKI the technical events in skiing which are Slalom and Giant Slalom. The other two events are the speed events Super G and Downhill and I do not ski these speed events.
Q: What inspired you to want to represent Jamaica?
The bobsled team from 1988 in Calgary was a big reason, they showed anything is possible. Watching two skiers at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games, Alberto Tomba from Italy and Pirmin Zurbriggen from Switzerland. Then recently Errol Kerr skied for Jamaica at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Skicross and that pushed me over the top to go for it.
Q: Tell us about your effort to get to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia? What are the qualifications you need to meet to get there?
I need to compete in races around the world over the next 4 months and achieve 140 FIS points average from my five best races before January 19, 2014, Olympic deadline date. FIS is the International governing body for skiing. I will and am in training everyday.
Q: Do you know Errol Kerr who does downhill Skiing for Jamaica? Have you trained together?
I do not know him personally but have followed his achievements in Skicross since 2010. He wrote me when I started this to wish me luck. His mother was the person I so I look e to when I first got the idea to follow through on my dream in 2010. She is great! Very supportive and helpful.
Q: For the Jamaicans out there that do no understand what it takes to train for alpine skiing please give us a quick synopsis if your daily routine?
6am wake up to stretch and change. 7am breakfast. 8am at the first gondola ready to go up the mountain to train. Train (ski) until 1 or 1:30 with my coaches. 2pm lunch. 2:30pm to 4:00pm nap. 4:30pm to 6pm fitness studio for strength and coordination training. 6:30pm dinner. 7:00pm to 8:00pm video analysis of day skiing. 9:30 or 10pm bedtime. Long Day!
Q: Approximately how fast are you going?
Up to 80 or 90km per hour on straight free ride runs.
Q: What was the feeling like when you first started alpine skiing? Was there a real big rush?
It was a sense of freedom and curiosity and anticipation for the unknown challenges ahead. It was a massive rush and still is everyday. It is a privilege to get to do what I am aiming and training for.
Q: Skiing is a very expensive sport. How are you currently supporting your efforts financially? Do you have major sponsorships?
It is very expensive! I have one major sponsorship from S. Oliver retail in Austria that sponsors me to be Able to pay my coaches and for me to take care of myself and family financially. However, we need more financial. Support to travel to all of our scheduled races to qualify for the Olympics.
Q: How is the crowd sourcing effort going? How can readers help?
Crowdfunding effort is going slower than we hoped. We need help! Readers can help by donating what ever they can financially and will be few be rewarded from us with “perks” in the form of Jamaica Ski Team hats and apparel, ski equipment and more. They can also help by forward on my story and our crowdfunding project. Thanks.
Q: Who is your hero?
My heroes are my mother and grandmother (she recently passed this summer). My mother raised my by herself to be a well mannered, well educated, polite gentleman and more and I think she did well. My Grandmother taught me everything up the history of Jamaica and this is why I am so proud to represent this country.
Q: My friend would say the strangest thing I do is…
Say Thank You for everything. I try to be very polite and thankful and sometimes my friends say I say thanks for everything. They are not used to it I guess.
Q: If you were given a 10 day all expense vacation where would you go?
I would go back in time to see my Mother and Grandmother growing up as kids in Jamaica and to see my grandmother raise my mom and her siblings for a week. I would go to Jamaica!!!!!
Thanks for spending some time with us. We wish you the best in the future.
Visit the following website to learn more about Michael Williams: