(WXYZ) - As the excitement of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games begins to wear off, a new group of athletic heroes is setting out to represent our country. The Paralympic Games begin Friday, and they will showcase one local downhill skier from Rochester Hills, MI who is defying the odds while inspiring those around him.
“I remember coming home from the hospital with him and my husband and I just looking at each other and saying, ‘You know what? This is what it is,' and we’re just gonna march forward and be positive and give him every opportunity to do what he wants in life”
Rae Stanton’s son Jamie is your typical college kid in a lot of ways.
"Jamie was always very competitive. Always very athletic," says Stanton.
Growing up Jamie did everything from golf to basketball to skiing and snowboarding, and he did it all with a prosthetic leg. Jamie was born with a congenital defect requiring his right leg to be amputated when he was six months old.
"He played all able body sports. He was never in any special programs," his mother explains.
That is until he caught the attention of the U.S. Paralympic alpine ski team.
“I knew that this was something I wanted to pursue, and I ended up moving out to Colorado full time and ended up making the paralympic national team," says Jamie.
In 2014, he competed at the Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi. Now he’s getting ready to make another run at the podium in PyeongChang, competing in the Super G, Super Combined, Slalom and Giant Slalom events.
"When I went to sochi, it was my rookie season with the U.S. National team and I just felt very in experienced. There’s a lot of unknowns that added up to ultimately a good performance but I think I could have done a little better," Jamie says as he reflects on his first Paralympic Games experience. "Whereas this year I’ve been in Korea, I know the slopes. I know how to train, how to fuel my body, what I need exactly to perform at my optimal level."
"I think there’s higher expectations for sure. I mean, he’s been able to podium in multiple world cup events the last two years," says Rae Stanton.
She says her son has achieved his athletic success by not imposing any limits on himself, and setting the bar high. He credits a lot of family support, and a heaping helping of determination.
"‘I’ve always told myself that I could achieve whatever I put my mind to. One of my dad’s quotes, he told me when I was young, 'Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger' and I’ve lived by that every day of my life."
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