On Tuesday February 18, 18 year-old Torin Yater-Wallace will compete in the men’s freeski half-pipe event.
One of the youngest members of the US Freeski Team, Yater-Wallace is an Aspen native and, with his mom, is part of the P&G “Thank You, Mom” campaign which celebrates the role of moms in helping their Olympians succeed.
Prior to the start of the Sochi Olympics, Yater-Wallace kindly answered a few of my questions about competing, his family and his dream date for this year’s Prom.
What does it mean to you to be on the US Olympic Freeski team?
It means a lot to me to be on the US Freeski team, especially the first freeskiing Olympic team in the inaugural year!
I think that’s the main thing that makes me really proud because I’ll be able to have people look back and see that I was on the first team created. It’s a really cool thing for me and hopefully will inspire younger kids coming up in the sport.
When you found out you made the team, what was the first thing that popped into your head?
Relief because I’ve been hurt all season and my only chance of making it was the discretionary spot. I have my spot locked and I’m super happy!
Besides free ski half-pipe, what are your favorite Olympic sports?
I think besides my event, my favorite sports to watch are slopestyle skiing and snowboarding, snowboard pipe, and hockey!
What do you hope to bring back from Sochi in terms of medals, experiences and wisdom?
I think everyone hopes to bring back a medal, so that would be really cool and super special because not everyone in the world can say they have one.
As far as the whole experience in itself, I’d love to bring back stories to my friends because they are all just going to high school and I want to tell them about my experiences on the road!
You’re no stranger to international competition, having competed in the X Games, the DEW tour and more for three years. At age 18, do you still feel like you’re always the “youngest” or do feel more like a seasoned veteran?
I think it depends on the crowd that I’m with when I’m traveling. At times I definitely feel like a veteran because I’ve been doing this for a few years, but it’s pretty crazy to say that at 18!
There are also times when I’m hanging out with legends and veterans and I feel like the young one because they tend to joke with me about being so young. Still, there’s a lot younger people coming into the sport.
It’s a little different from when I was 15 and on the pro circuit when I always felt like the youngest and now being 18, in my mind I feel older than 18 because I’ve had to mature a little quicker than a lot of other kids my age.
Traveling the world alone and taking on a lot of responsibility at times definitely makes me feel older than I am!
You’re part of the P & G Thank You, Mom campaign. How did your mom, and your family, help you in your career?
My mom and my family have done everything in my career for me!
They’ve helped me out along the way through the entire thing and they never held me back and always supported me. They made it possible to help me pursue my dreams in the sport I had a passion for since I was a child.
I wouldn’t be nearly at the level I’m at now without the support of my mom and family. They’ve helped me along the way in every single aspect and I can’t thank them enough for it!
I got involved with the P&G Thank You, Mom campaign when Crest approached me, and I thought the campaign they did with Thank You, Mom in London was really cool. Many of my fellow Olympic athletes have been involved with this campaign as well and created “Raising An Olympian” films that are really inspirational and moving.
After the Olympics, what do you have going on? Any big plans or upcoming events, films, high school graduation, that you’re looking forward to?
I might be going to Austria to film with Armada, the ski company I ride for. After that, I’m trying to leave my whole season open to do whatever comes up.
I want to have fun in the rest of the season because I’ve been doing a lot of competing the last few years and have had a super busy schedule.
Going from event to event and country to country, sometimes you start thinking about the sport for the wrong reason and not for the reason that you started, which is to have fun and love what you do.
I’d like to calm down and enjoy skiing for a second!
I’d also love to do more filming but with my competition schedule, I don’t have enough time to put in a lot of work to make a good film segment, which is a big goal in the near future. I want to be able to spread myself into a lot of directions in the sport, because competition is only one aspect of the sport.
Finally, I’d also like to go to my first prom ever — if Emma Watson will go with me :).
Thanks Torin! We’re cheering for you, buddy!
And Emma, please say “yes!”
- Ten Minutes with Ted Ligety, October 16, 2013.
- Ten Minutes with Jamie Anderson, US Snowboard Slopestyle, November 8, 2013.
- A Fireside Chat with Tom Wallisch at the X Games, January 31, 2014.
- Talking with Olympic Ski Racer (and Brave Ski Mom) Edie Thys Morgan, February 6, 2014.
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