When your legs can't ski anymore, ski with your heart.
My name is Sini (which means blue in Finnish), and I am a 24 year old World Cup level nordic sit-skier from Finland. To be exact, I come from the Finnish Lapland, the place with endless snow, northern lights and reindeer. Growing up in the arctic circle meant that I learned to ski when I was only two years old, and raced my first race the same year. I was only four years old when I said I will be a World Champion one day. My whole childhood was filled with sports, from track and field to orienteering, soccer, dancing and above all skiing. I grew to love the feeling of pushing my boundaries on the ski tracks and also spending hours and hours in the forest just soaking up the feeling of being part of the nature around me.
On March 28th 2010, when I was 17 years old, my career as a skier faced a setback. Me and my parents were in a big head-to-head car accident where I was almost cut in half fromatthe waist, and my spinal cord was injured severely from the L3 level. When I woke up in the hospital the doctor told me straight away I wouldn't ski ever again, I wouldn't even walk. My response was to google sit-skiing and deciding that I will follow my dream regardless of what the doctor said. After six months of rehabilitation and surgeries I was able to go back to school and I focused my time and energy on recovery and graduating from High School.
Two years later I was fit enough (emotionally and physically) to return to the tracks and start training again. It felt great to return to the winter forest and feel the familiar frostbites on my cheeks. It felt as though I came back home. I started out with a rental sit-ski, and even raced my first world cup in December 2012. I eventually got my own sit-ski in 2013, and two months later I was nominated to represent Finland in the Paralympics in Sochi, something I had hardly dared to dream of. Sochi was an amazing experience and being there only made it clearer that skiing is what I am meant to do, what makes me smile even in the worst of days. After Sochi I have been training hard and I am now ranked 9th in the world. I even skied on the podium for the first time in my career this season.
Next year will be the Paralympic year, which means I will be focused 100% on skiing and training, and I will do everything it takes to succeed in the games. Skiing is my passion and I think I will carry it with me my whole life. It has made me realize that even though life might throw obstacles on your way, it is up to you to decide how you face them. I have never been good at giving up, and I decided to follow my dream I set 20 years ago. I am closer to it every day, and I wouldn't change anything that has happened. This is my life, my story, and I will be the one deciding what I can do and achieve. My dream is to become a Paralympic Gold Medalist, what is yours?