When the Winter Olympics take place in Sochi, Russia in February, southeastern Indiana will be represented by Nick Goepper.
The son of Chris and Linda Goepper, Lawrenceburg, is ranked No. 1 in a new event, skiing slopestyle, according to the Olympics Team USA Web site. “It is a lot like skateboarding. There are jumps and rail obstacles that you must do your best trick on. It involves a run filled with jumps and rails, and once you get to the bottom, you are judged on the overall impression of your run,” he says.
He has come a long way from when he put on skis for the first time. “I grew up skiing at Perfect North Slopes (Lawrenceburg), a little 300-foot hill in southeastern Indiana …. My mom got me started skiing when I was 5 years old. At first I hated it, though, because I couldn’t wiggle my feet. I was cold, and I wasn’t good at it. It was new, and I didn’t like that change.”
However, Goepper soon grew to love it. “I did my first back flip when I was 11 years old. It was at that moment that I got hooked to flipping and flying through the air. I loved the adrenaline rush that skiing gave me. It was the overcoming your fears aspect of the sport that I craved.”
The Windells Academy, Oregon, 2012 graduate says, “Getting out of Indiana to go pursue a skiing career was one of my biggest challenges. There was also dealing with the adversity of being from Indiana and trying to re-learn all my tricks to compete in the big leagues.”
Even though he has been injured in the sport – “I’ve had a few concussions, broken a few bones and had a fair amount of stitches. It comes with the territory” – he still enjoys “the creativity and the plethora of personalities and characters it produces. The ability to be creative is synonymous with freedom. The people I get to share my experiences with mean the world to me.”
The 19-year-old trains in Breckenridge, Colo., and “they have the best terrain park in the world.” He is looking forward to the Olympics and “competing in the world’s biggest stage and having friends and family witness it.”
He adds, “My family is the best thing in the world. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. They are everything I could ask for: supportive, loving, caring, funny and my best friends.”
After hearing that his son qualified for the Olympic team, his dad says, “Linda and I are both excited and very proud. These are the types of things that happen in life when hard work and goals intersect. Nick’s sisters and brother are so excited.
“We are all hoping that Nick performs well at the Olympics and beyond. I think Nick understands partly that not only is this his quest to reach his ultimate goal, it is the journey that is also important. In the end, we want him to be happy and a positive contributor to his family and society. We do our best to give our kids love and values. We hope that they then move on in life and make the most with their opportunities.”
The father stresses, “Goal/objectives combined with hard work pay off. I’m a believer that it is the person who persists and works the hardest who succeeds in the end. Nothing will take the place of persistence.”
After the Olympics, Nick Goepper hopes to attend college in the summer. “I have not chosen a school yet, and as of now, my major is undecided .... I have a lot of future plans. I plan to create my own brand, continue competing at the highest level and producing film content that will amaze.”
He encourages others to follow their dreams. “Don’t ever let anyone tell you no. Also, don’t be afraid to embarrass yourself. If you have a plan and you know what works best for you, stick to that plan and don’t let anyone steer you in a negative direction.”
For now his focus is on the international winter sporting event that only comes around once every four years. “The Olympics is going to be one of the most exciting games to watch. You’ll be on the edge of your seats!”
Diane Raver can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-934-4343, Ext. 114.