Sure, Westminster College in Utah is an official partner of U.S. Ski & Snowboard, the national governing body for competitive skiing and snowboarding, but it’s still kind of amazing how many of their students end up representing the United States in the Olympic Games.
This year, 18 U.S. Ski & Snowboard student-athletes will compete for Team USA in South Korea, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard. The athletes are from a diverse selection of grade levels and majors—from juniors to first-years, art majors to finance majors.
They will be training at the Center of Excellence that is 30 minutes away from Westminster College, continuing to take classes at the same time.
“As an athlete, school has been a great outlet for me to take a break from thinking about skiing all the time and realize there is other stuff out there. It has given me skills that translate into making me who I am,” said Megan McJames, three-time Olympian and junior finance major to U.S. Ski & Snowboard.
23 Westminster students competed in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, and an impressive number of 58 U.S. Ski & Snowboard students and alums are currently enrolled in classes at Westminster, according to the official website of Westminster College.
According to U.S. Ski & Snowboard, more than 140 U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes have attended Westminster College since their partnership with the school began in 2005.
Despite a demanding training schedule, the athletes all manage to maintain an impressive academic record as well. The average GPA of U.S Ski & Snowboard athletes is 3.6, and they have Monday-Thursday class schedules that leave three days to spend practicing at any of the 10 ski resorts that are less than an hour away from campus.
“I was the kid who was in summer school a lot. It took me an extra year to graduate high school and I didn’t really see secondary education as an option. Then I made the national team and thought ‘if I can be the best at my sport, I can get through college,’” said Faye Guilini, three-time Olympian, Grand Prix champion and a junior and accounting major.”I started at Westminster and saw that these professors are willing to be there when you’re in South America or halfway around the world. That’s very beneficial. I have a 3.9 GPA, something I never thought I would have.”
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