Park City’s Megan McJames held onto her Olympic dream, even after she was cut from the team six years ago


PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — A lot of athletes talk about self-confidence, but alpine skier Megan McJames defines it.

The Park City native’s faith in her own abilities is not without flaws, but it has been able to withstand the kind of blow that not many athletes in any sport would have the fortitude to endure.

In 2012, McJames was cut from the U.S. Ski and Snowboard team. For the last six years, she’s competed outside the very structure set up to find, nurture and support the country’s best ski racers.

That’s right, McJames was essentially told she wasn’t good enough to represent the U.S. at the most elite levels.

That’s right, those that seek, nurture and guide the best skiers in the country told McJames she wasn’t good enough.

The 30-year-old Westminster College student, however, felt differently.

And, since then, the 2010 Olympian has earned a spot on two more U.S. Olympic Alpine teams, including the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, where she will compete in giant slalom on Monday morning, and possibly two other races.

“It’s a lot harder in a lot of ways,” McJames said of competing on the World Cup circuit without the support of the national team. “But it’s also given me freedom to pursue the athletic plan that’s best for me. I am juggling a lot more details, like fundraising and travel plans, but then you have that one run, and you know it’s awesome even before you see your time on the board. It makes it all worth it.”

Her fellow skiers admire her tenacity — and organizational skills.

“I give huge props to her for doing that,” said Holladay native and her Olympic teammate Jared Goldberg. “Continuing to make it work is really hard. It’s hard when you have a team behind you. Not having somebody to plan everything, and having to be in charge of all of that, it’s impressive. She has no support financially, and I think she has to raise all that money. … It’s cool she’s doing it. She’s a good skier, and it’s cool to see her make it outsie the team.”

Finding the faith to continue a professional ski career without the support of the U.S. national team was not easy.

“When I was first cut, for sure, it was a process of re-believing in myself,” she said. “The organization that manages skiing in our country was saying I’m not good enough.”

But she loved every aspect of ski racing so much that she couldn’t bring herself to give up on her dreams. So she figured out how to fund an independent ski racing career that has carried her two her third Olympic Games.

“I don’t know if it’s more special to make the Olympic team independent (of the national team’s support),” she said. “But I know all the work I put in, every thing I juggle, all the support I have, and it’s really fulfilling.”

McJames said she doesn’t use revenge or proving a point as motivators.

“At first, I had that, ‘I’m going to show them,’” she said. “But that …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News


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