That the times were fast was to be expected.
That medals were won was part of the goal.
But it‚??s what wasn‚??t expected to happen to Stephanie Jallen in her most recent foray into the world of slalom skiing that provided a glimpse into how well she has grown into the sport.
Jallen, who recently competed in a NorAm races event, was penalized during one of her runs when she fell on the course, a very atypical scenario for Jallen.
‚??I was going so fast and was so strong in my ski that the binding actually came loose and the ski kind of got away from me,‚?Ě said Jallen.
Pay attention, competitors: Stephanie Jallen is moving so fast her own equipment can‚??t keep up with her.
Jallen, of Harding, won Silver and Bronze Medals in two separate Slalom races held from December 10th through the 14th at the 2012 NorAm Races in Copper Mountain, Colorado. A member of the U.S. Paralympics Alpine Ski Team, Jallen competed against athletes from 12 other countries.
‚??This race really put me in a good position for the rest of the year,‚?Ě said Jallen. ‚??These races are very important because each race from here on out really matters. You get points deducted from your points list every time you race, so the lower the better.‚?Ě
The point system itself decides whether or not an athlete can qualify to be a part of the International Paralympic Committee. Once athletes become a member of the I.P.C., they can begin to qualify for and race in World Cup events. The times in those events help to lower an athletes points in hopes of qualifying for the Paralympic Games, to be held next in 2014 in Sochi, Russia.
While the medals were certainly nice to bring home, the results at Copper Mountain also cemented Jallen‚??s entrance into World Cup events, putting her one step closer to the Paralympic Games.
The Paralympic Games is a competition for physically challenged athletes from around the world in the mold of the Olympic Games.
Jallen, who had her left leg amputated when she was an infant and has a shortened left arm as a result of Congenital Hemidysplasia with Ichthyosis and Limb Defects (CHILD) Syndrome, will be competing in the next few weeks at a personal level she believes to be her best yet.
‚??I have a few more trips set up. I have one coming up from December 31 through January 4 in Winter Park, Colorado,‚?Ě said Jallen, a junior at Wyoming Area. ‚??During my time there, I‚??ll be competing in a U.S. Nationals race, which is a seeding event that will hopefully lower my points, and a NorAm tech event, where the races are more about skill and technique than they are speed. At these races, I‚??m just trying to knock my points down as low as possible and get to as many World Cups as I can.
‚??I‚??m much stronger than I was last year. I feel much faster. I‚??ve had more training. After seeing how things went in Colorado, I‚??m very confident that I‚??ll have a very successful year.‚?Ě