Olivia Gordon is not your average girl. At 11 years old, this athlete from Sparta finds herself competing in a sport many would consider unorthodox for her age, Alpine Ski Racing.
It was her father, Tim Gordon, that first got her involved in the sport. During Christmas of 2011, Tim got his daughter a snowboard. Over Christmas break, the two went snowboarding to try it out. After countless attempts that only resulted in fall after fall, Olivia decided to try skiing instead. Instantly, Olivia fell in love with the sport and has been skiing ever since.
Soon after the discovery of her new passion, Olivia wanted the chance to compete. She explained, “I loved skiing so much, I wanted to try racing to become a better skier.” The Meijer State Games of Michigan would give Olivia the opportunity she was looking for. Through training at the Cannonsburg Ski Area with the WinAlpine Ski Team, and in addition to a few weekend races where Olivia usually placed in the middle of the pack, she felt prepared enough to compete in the inaugural Winter State Games.
At the Meijer Winter State Games, Olivia won a bronze medal in the Giant Slalom and a silver medal in the Slalom in the 12 and under division. To this day, she considers this to be her two greatest accomplishments in the sport. Since then, Olivia was also invited to participate in the NASTAR Nationals in Aspen, Colorado.
When asked about her experience in the State Games, Olivia responded, “I felt like I was in the Olympics. The Olympics have a way of bringing people together to enjoy their sport and share experiences. I felt the Meijer State Games accomplished that.” In the upcoming Winter Games, Olivia plans to once again race in the Slalom and Giant Slalom events in hopes of bettering her times and making new friends, while feeling the positive sportsmanship associated with an Olympic styled event.
In preparation for the State Games, Olivia practices two to three days a week and maintains a positive attitude between her coaches and teammates. When asked about her methods of maintaining a healthy living, Olivia specified the importance of drinking water, eating her fruits and vegetables, and staying outside for fresh air and exercise. In her spare time away from the classroom at Appleview Elementary, this 5th grader enjoys rollerblading, kickball, company with her friends, and of course, racing fast skis.
Following in her father’s footsteps, Olivia’s passion for skiing continues to grow as she looks forward to participating in the 2015 Meijer Winter State Games of Michigan.
The Meijer State Games of Michigan is a multi-sport, Olympic-style event(s) that welcome athletes regardless of age or ability level. The Games embody the values of participation, sportsmanship and healthy living.