WHISTLER, B.C. (June 15, 2012) – Not too many people make history before their 20th birthday and get invited back to their old high school to talk about it, but it’s been that kind of year for Marielle Thompson.
The ski cross star from Whistler, B.C., who became the first Canadian to win an overall World Cup title last season, took part in a special assembly at Whistler Secondary on Thursday to celebrate her achievements on the ski hill.
“It was good to be able to go back to school,” said Thompson, who celebrated her 20th birthday on Friday.
“A few of the teachers wanted me to come in and try to inspire students and get kids motivated. I really enjoyed it.
“The teachers were all so supportive and my outdoor-recreation teacher was saying how much I’ve grown as a person. It was cool to hear that.”
Thompson enjoyed her time at Whistler Secondary and in Grades 11 and 12, she took on the extra challenge of combining her studies with her blossoming skiing career.
“When I was doing Nor-Ams, I would go to school for a while and be gone for a week at a time,” said Thompson, who graduated in 2010 and also took the ski cross Nor-Am title that year. “When I was at school I really enjoyed outdoor rec and geography. I did all the sciences and math, calculus. Some of it was a bit challenging – especially when I was away from school.”
During Thursday’s assembly, Thompson showed videos of her first two World Cup victories – on home soil in Blue Mountain, Ont., in February and in Branas, Sweden, in March. She then took part in a Q&A, which included some amusing questions.
“One person asked if I went to school there – I thought that was funny,” Thompson said. “Someone also asked me for my number!”
It’s been a busy week for Thompson. On Wednesday it was announced that she had signed a two-year sponsorship deal with PI Financial Corp. – the Vancouver-based full service investment deal that previously sponsored retired alpine star Britt Janyk – and on Friday she celebrated her birthday by heading to Mount Bachelor, USA, for the first national team snow camp of the summer.
“It’s been kind of wild,” said the Crystal Globe winner. “Everyone at PI was so on board and excited and going back to (visit) school was cool as well. I’m excited to get back to basics (on snow). It will be great to have the other girls back this year (such as world champion Kelsey Serwa, who is returning from injury). Touch wood, hopefully I stay healthy.”
Thompson has some big goals for the 2012-13 season, which includes the 2013 world championships in Norway and X Games in Aspen, USA. This season also marks the start of the 2014 Olympic qualification cycle, bringing her closer to a dream she’s had since she was a child.
“I remember when I was in Grade 12 that some friends were talking about Sochi (Russia - the Winter Olympics) and saying, ‘I’m going to cheer for you,’ ” Thompson said. “It seemed like kind of a joke but it’s a much more realistic goal now. It would be amazing.”
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