A local alpine skier will represent Canada on the international stage during one of the most prestigious Special Olympic competitions in the world.
Thirty-five-year-old Michael Langridge has been selected to compete at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria next year.
“I was surprised and shocked. Not many people get picked,” said the Victoria resident, who is the only person from Vancouver Island to be selected and one of 390 alpine skiers from around the world.
Despite only picking up the sport last year, the newcomer proved he could hold his own against some of the best Special Olympic alpine skiers in the country.
He won gold in all three of his races — super G, slalom and giant slalom — during nationals in Corner Brook, Newfoundland earlier this month.
“It went really well. All my races went perfect. I didn’t fall down and didn’t get disqualified,” he said. “I was racing against people who ski all year round and I only ski a couple of times a year.”
Now, he’s setting his sights on the international stage and his first appearance at Worlds.
Over the next year, Langridge will practice three times a week at Mount Washington in the winter, keep fit and participate in training camps in Vancouver.
Langridge’s alpine ski training coach Anne-Marie Sutherland is proud of his accomplishments.
“I did think he had a good chance to go (to Worlds) as he was one of the few athletes at nationals who received gold medals for all of his events,” she said, adding Langridge will need to stay focused in the months leading up to the competition.
“He will receive a lot of attention this year in preparation to go to Worlds, so there will be a lot of excitement. It will be important to stay focused on the training amidst all the excitement and not get too overwhelmed in the process.”
Langridge is optimistic he’ll do well.
“I just want to do my best,” he added.
The Special Olympics World Winter Games takes place in Austria from March 14 to 25, 2017. It brings together 3,000 athletes from 110 nations to compete in nine sports, including floorball, stick shooting, speed skating and snowboarding.