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Paralympic Sport Windham – A Program of the Adaptive Sports Foundation

The Adaptive Sports Foundation is a Paralympic Sports Club in association with the United States Olympic Committee. As such, one of our interests is to help develop and train potential future Paralympic athletes. Like the Olympics, the Paralympics give elite athletes from around the world an opportunity to compete and represent their country in athletic competition.

Many of you know Caitlin Sarubbi, a former ASF student who competed in the 2010 Paralympic Games in Vancouver. Most of you also know of Staci Mannella and her quest to compete as a visually-impaired racer with guide Kim Seevers in the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia. At our recent Eric D. Dettenrieder Race Camp featuring US Adaptive Team Coach Eric Leirfallom, we had a number of other athletes training with the hopes and dreams of competing in future Games, including our very own John Eckbold.

Robyn Davis and John Eckbold at the Camelback race.

John has made significant progress in his development as a competitive mono-skiing racer this season. He started his season by attending the Hartford Ski Spectacular in Breckenridge, CO, in December, along with fellow ASF Race Team member Robyn Davis and me. Upon his return, we worked together with John and his family to develop a midweek training program that would support his goals to compete nationally and internationally.

For the last two months, John has trained on snow every Monday through Thursday with a team of ASF volunteer race coaches that have been working together to improve John’s skiing movements and on-hill performance. We thank all of the ASF coaches who volunteered to be race coaches midweek with John.

We also formulated an indoor training program for John. We received the local support of Mary Shoepe of Fitness Concepts in Hensonville, who offered John the use of her training facility and periodic personal training. We were also fortunate to receive holistic health coaching from Paul Jensen, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, a certified neuromuscular therapist, and a sports performance coach, in Albany, NY. Paul is one of about three dozen Level IV C.H.E.K. (Corrective Holistic Exercise Kinesiology) practitioners in the world. Paul focused on improving John’s health, wellness and energy, before developing a plan for improving his athletic performance. We thank Mary and Paul for donating their time to get this ASF program off the ground.

In addition, Jo Kirsch and I met John on numerous mornings and evenings right here at ASF to practice yoga and to do some fitness-related exercises.

It is race season now and many of our ASF Race Team members are competing at various races at Windham and around the Northeast. Good luck to all. Staci and Kim are heading to Alaska for Nationals. John will compete at Mount Sunapee in the Diana Golden Series Finale.

It is also time to plan for next season and work on further developing our Paralympic Sport Club race-training program. We are hoping to attract additional racers for our midweek training program. A few of our race camp participants have expressed interest in our midweek program for next season. Some of them have expressed interest in also being future adaptive ski teachers or coaches. As our plans develop, we’ll keep you posted. We’ll look forward to your support. In the meantime, best of luck to all of our racers in the various spring race competitions, and in the various summer dryland and on-snow race training camps! For those racers interested, we’d be happy to discuss summer training options with you.