Paralympian fights for spot on on Team USA 2022 after training in Colorado Springs

Paralympian fights for spot on Team USA after training in Colorado Springs
Published: Feb. 7, 2022 at 6:21 PM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - From a webcam in Sweden, Tyler Carter seems like your average 20-something-year-old. He’s got a big smile on his face, loads of energy, and a positive outlook that pours out whenever he speaks. But Carter isn’t your average guy, and he’s not in Sweden for vacation. He’s actually fighting for a spot to compete at the Paralympics in Beijing, China this year.

Carter had his right leg amputated when he was just a year old, after being born without a fibula. But that hasn’t stopped him from taking the skiing world by storm.

“I got into adaptive skiing in Pennsylvania where I’m from.. At a small hill there run by the Pennsylvania Center for Adaptive Sports,” said Tyler Carter, Paralympian.

Carter was soon recruited to Colorado to ski with the National Sports Center for the Disabled. That’s where he got invited to be a spectator at the 2010 Paralympics in Vancouver, Canada.

“And that’s when the dream was born,” explained Carter.

The 28-year-old has competed in two Paralympics. His first time was the 2014 winter games in Sochi, Russia. The second was at the 2018 competition in PyeongChang, South Korea. His specialty is the slalom, or giant slalom. That’s an alpine skiing discipline in which the skier weaves between sets of poles.

To prepare for competition, Carter says he’s spent most of his time in Colorado Springs.

“Training at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic training center is insane,” said Carter. “They have some of the best staff in the world.”

Carter also raved about all the natural training locations offered in southern Colorado, such as the Manitou incline, Garden of the Gods and the local hiking trails. He also says the elevation is great for conditioning.

“Being a skier, we’re always up in altitude anyway,” said Carter. “So it doesn’t really make much sense for me to go to sea level.”

Being an amputee does come with some challenges, but Carter maintains that his disability does not limit him. He says the key to his success is putting in that extra work.

“I might not have the most natural talent at skiing, but I’ll be the one working the hardest in the gym, making sure my equipment’s ready, you know spending those extra hours on the hill to do what I can to get to that point,” said Carter.

While Carter has not qualified for this year’s Paralympic team yet, his journey does come with expenses that he has to pay out of his own pocket. Paralympians are rarely sponsored by big-name brands like other Olympians, so Carter is asking for donations that people can submit through a GoFundMe page.

“It’s really important to just keep remembering that goal, that end focus that you’re looking toward,” said Carter. “And for me, that’s making the team, going to Beijing and doing the best I can.”

All in all, Carter says winning a gold medal would be awesome, but having the chance to inspire others is what ultimately pushes him to continue on his journey. When asked about how he deals with those days when he’s not feeling so great, Carter had this to say:

“When I have those setbacks and challenges, I take a moment, kind of take a deep breath and think ‘What was one thing I did really well? What was a positive note I can take away?’ When I figured that out a few years ago, that was game changing for me and really my mental state.”

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