Talking with Olympic Ski Racer (and Brave Ski Mom) Edie Thys Morgan

edie thys morgan vail

Photo courtesy Edie Thys Morgan.

braveskimom logoThe Sochi Winter Olympics start today, which has me in an Olympic state of mind!

Today, I ask former US Ski Team member Edie Thys Morgan about her Olympic and US Ski Team experience, her current life as a coach, ski journalist and novelist, and about her most challenging job — being a mom.

Enjoy!

You’re a mom. A ski racer. A ski coach. And, a writer. Which one of these roles challenges you the most and how do they all fit together? 

Hardest role? Mom. Totally.

Being a mom totally changed my focus. As an athlete, you have to be focused on what you need and on doing your best. Everything you do is focused on optimal performance. As a parent, you’re number three on a good day and you get hammered with things you never expect. It keeps you humble.

oliver and chauncey morgan

Edie’s sons, now racers in their own right. Photo courtesy Edie Thys Morgan.

You’re now a coach and both of your sons ski race. Do you coach them? 

My husband and I both coach and when our sons were younger, we were more involved. Now our older son goes to a ski academy. We’re still involved with both boys, but in a fun, healthy way. Part of this means beating the drama. So what if it’s a big race? We try not to get caught up in the results and being outcome oriented. We want our sons to get what they want, but they have to work for it.

edie thys morgan mount hood oregon

Edie at Mount Hood, Oregon, 2013. Photo courtesy Edie Thys Morgan.

As a former racer yourself, what’s it like being the race parent instead of the race athlete? 

I like it a lot being on the other side. It’s a little nerve wracking. When they were little, it was all fun and games, but now they are bigger, faster and stronger. I worry about the danger. I was injured a lot and I worry about them crashing and getting hurt.

Truly, being a parent has given me a totally new respect for my parents. I don’t know if they were clueless about the danger, or just had the discipline to give us a lot of freedom.

chan morgan chauncey morgan

Edie’s husband Chan and their son Chauncey at Mount Hood, Oregon. Photo courtesy Edie Thys Morgan.

You competed in two Winter Olympic games — Calgary in 1988 and Albertville in 1992. What is your favorite memory for these experiences?

Definitely the opening ceremony in 1988. I think that walking in your first opening ceremony has to be something that is seared into your brain. At Calgary, we walked through a tunnel under the stadium. When we came out of the dark, it was all flashbulbs and the roar of the crowd. It hits you that you’re not watching this on TV. You are in it.

Edie Thys Morgan 1992 winter olympics

Edie Thys Morgan and a teammate at the 1992 Winter Olympics.

What stands out from  your years as a World Cup racer?

This may sound corny, but it’s not the wins. Instead, it’s the memories I share with my teammates about going the wrong way in a van, stealing ice cream from a hotel kitchen, or meeting up with the Men’s team for pizza.

What I remember most are all the goofy and sometimes painful experiences — the spaces between the competition that we survived together. I have really tight and long-lasting friendships from those days.

shut up and ski book cover

Image courtesy Edie Thys Morgan.

Your novel, Shut Up and Ski, is based on your World Cup and Olympic experience in 1988. Why did you write it? 

I felt like the US Ski Team during my era had a really bad rap. We were the only team in 40 years that didn’t win an Olympic medal. Because we weren’t as successful, no one tells our story. But  there was a lot to that year. It was really challenging and there were some strong characters whose stories needed to be told.

What has skiing brought to your family?

Skiing is a gift. It is something our entire family does together, up and at ‘em every weekend. Instead of going in opposite directions, we’re on the same page.

There may be other sports that do this for a family, but I can’t think of many, where I can share the same experience with my 83 year-old dad and my 12 year-old son. I think skiing has given our family and strong bond and connection. We have so much in common because of the sport and I don’t think we’ll ever lose that connection.

In addition to coaching and raising kids, Edie Thys Morgan is a regular writer for SKI magazine, Skiing History Magazine and writes a column for the parents of USSA racers, called RacerNext. She recently contributed to Stitch Mountain, a book about knitting, with patterns designed by ski racers, that benefits the US Ski Team. She also writes a cooking blog: bringiteats.com. 

 Related Posts: 

© 2014, Kristen Lummis. All rights reserved. Any use or publication of content, including photos, requires express permission.

Comments

  1. says

    Hi Kristen – love the perspective from Edie. I find it so interesting to hear about professional athletes that are also parents of young kids. Excellent view of youth sports culture from someone who has such a unique perspective. Thanks!

Trackbacks