Competing in his first World Winter Games, Ryan Fielding felt lighter than a feather.
On top of seeing his hero Arnold Schwarzenegger, the 34-year-old alpine skier from Camas breezed down the mountain in 1 minute, 42.78 seconds and earned a bronze medal in the intermediate “Super G” event March 19, in Austria. He also finished in fourth place in the giant slalom with a time of 9:00.85.
“This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Fielding said. “It was cool to be able to meet new people and bring home a medal.”
Fielding has been skiing for about 20 years. He is on the Sno Phantoms, a Special Olympics team based in Vancouver. Nick and Michelle Dever are the head coaches. The skiers and snowboarders train at Mount Hood.
“The coaches are fantastic. They do a wonderful job with the kids,” said Tony Fielding, Ryan’s father. “You see these kids, they can do anything. Even if it’s just a minor accomplishment, they just get so excited.”
By performing well in all of his events at the 2016 Washington State Games, Ryan Fielding increased his odds of joining Team USA for the World Winter Games.
“You had to at least win one gold to get your name in the hat,” he said. “I ended up getting three gold medals.”
In Austria, Fielding enjoyed meeting athletes from around the world. Jeremy Beckham, one of Fielding’s teammates on the Sno Phantoms, earned fourth place in the advanced “Super G” event. The snowboarder from Vancouver also took seventh place in the giant slalom.
Fielding said he will never forget the thrill of competing in the Winter Games. He would love to go back and bring home a gold medal.