For TorinYater-Wallace, just being able to compete in the Olympics was a blessing. In December, the 18-year-old freeskier suffered a serious chest injury and two broken ribs after a crash during an event. He recovered enough to compete in Sochi, but his result was disappointing — he finished 26th in the men's ski halfpipe.
Still, Yater-Wallace says he did enjoy the Olympic experience, getting to hang out with his teammates and also working with his sponsor Pop-Tarts on their Crazy Good Winter campaign.SI Kids caught up with the former SportsKid of the Year finalist for a quick Q&A after the Olympics.
What lessons will you take away from your performance that will help you going forward?
Just making it to the Olympics was the hardest part and an accomplishment in itself. But hopefully the weather will be better in four years!
How tough was it to come back from your injuries to get a spot on the team and compete?
It was quite the roller coaster this December – a lot of events that were unexpected and put me out so I couldn’t ski at all. It’s never fun watching all of your friends out there skiing and you’re not able to ski. Coming back was a trip, but I just really wanted to compete, so the fact that I made this competitive U.S. team was awesome – especially coming with my two friends, Aaron Blunck and Lyman Currier.
What did you think of the environment in Sochi? Any good stories of meeting other athletes or sightseeing?
It’s been pretty fun over here in general. As freeskiers, we’re just going to our own events, and it’s a small industry so we know everyone. I’ve really liked meeting new people and it was sweet to see what other athletes are going through and learn more about other sports. I’ve been to some hockey games and got to watch snowboarding events.
What are your goals for the rest of 2014?
I’m hoping to take some time off from competitions, chill out and hang with my friends. I want to ski every day – for fun, not for competition. Hopefully I’ll put together a cool film segment this year because I’ll actually have time and just get to enjoy life.
Photo: Javier Soriano/AFP/Getty Images