Overcoming trials part of journey to Olympics
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The day Erik Fisher made the U.S. Olympic team as a downhill skier, he called his mother from France with some good news and some bad news.
The good news was that he was all right, Shelly Fisher said during a Church News telephone interview. The bad news was that he had fractured his hand and sustained a slight concussion when he crashed during a practice run.
It happened just three weeks before the 2010 Winter Olympics hosted in Vancouver, British Columbia, Friday, Feb. 12 through Sunday, Feb. 28. However, the 24-year-old member of the Middleton 7th Ward, Middleton Idaho Stake, still made it to the Olympics skiing venue in Whistler, about 75 miles north of Vancouver. He was one of five U.S. downhill skiers competing for the four slots allotted to the U.S. team.
"I just look at it as a part of the sport," Erik said of the injury during a Church News telephone interview.
Though Erik's trips home to southwestern Idaho are rare during the winter, he was able to spend some time there the week before the Olympics. With his hand in a cast, he received a blessing from his father, Dave, brother-in-law Brandon Wells and others, according to his mother, and seemed to find some solace in it, she said. He wasn't about to let the fracture and concussion thwart his Olympic dream, she continued, recalling his words, "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I'm just going to go for it."
He has been going for it since he was a little boy, Sister Fisher said. He had to be bribed with the promise of candy at the lodge if he would turn on his skis going down a run rather than flying straight down.
The nature of his sport makes it hard for him to get to Church during the competition season, much of it in the mountains of Europe.
What he tries to do when he can't get to Church meetings on Sunday is study the scriptures longer and do other things to make the day different from other days of the week. He said he carries his scriptures with him both in book form and downloaded on his cell phone.
He also said he has teammate Steven Nyman of the Edgemont 18th (YSA) Ward, Provo Utah Edgemont North Stake, who shares his values and joins him in Sabbath activities.
Being on the ski circuit, Erik said, has opened his eyes to what goes on in the world, but he said their teammates respect that he and Steve have values different than theirs.
"I've come to know that the values I've learned throughout my life are what make you happy," he said.
Other LDS Olympians are:
David Bissett, Calgary, Canada, bobsled.
Torah Bright, New South Wales, Australia, snowboard.
Chris Fogt, Alpine, Utah, bobsled.
Christian Niccum, Woodinville, Wash., luge.
Noelle Pikus-Pace, Eagle Mountain, Utah, skeleton.
Shauna Rohbock, Orem, Utah, bobsled.