Markus Salcher: From a child to a Paralympic star

My journey to Sochi 2014 started when I picked up my skis as a little two and a half year old kid on the slopes. 10 Oct 2013
Markus Salcher

Austria's Markus Salcher grew up on the slopes, with his father serving as a local ski instructor.

ⒸPhoto Courtesy of Markus Salcher
By Markus Salcher

Please feel free to follow me on my athlete Facebook page for more insights, and I look forward to keeping you updated on my road to Sochi 2014 through my future blogs.

My name is Markus Salcher, I am 22 years old and am going to be blogging often for you on in the future on my way to Sochi 2014.

Here, you will read about my hard everyday training, teammates and my life outside of skiing. But first I would like to introduce myself in detail.

As I said I am 22 years old and I live in Klagenfurt. This town has about 100,000 inhabitants and is located in the south of Austria. The state capital of Carinthia (Kaernten) is about 25 km air distance from the border with Slovenia.

I live here with my two brothers, Lukas (25) and Moritz (18), who I grew up with.

I’ve had Hemiplegia since birth. Thus, I do not know life any differently and I can say I live quite well with my impairment.

Like any other child, I went through kindergarten, elementary school and then high school.

Of course, it was hard to keep up in gym class with my peers, but I tried to make up for my missing skills with ambition.

After eighth grade, I was in the upper-level secondary school for sports performance in Klagenfurt, after much persuasion, as the sport entrance exam is tough and had hardly any exercises for athletes with an impairment.

School life was fully aligned to sport, and after graduating in 2011, I’ve now had five semesters of studying media and communications in Klagenfurt.

In connection with the project "Study and professional sport," it is also possible for me while physically not attending a

university campus, and I hope that in three years I can complete my bachelor’s degree.

I started my sporting career at the foot of the Nassfeld, near the Italian border by a small village called Tropolach.

My grandparents live there, and from there to Carinthia's largest ski gondola is just 500m away.

My family are avid skiers, and therefore never questioned whether I’d ski, but rather how I’d ski.

My father is the coach of the local ski club, and so naturally I was on skis for the first time when I was two and a half years old.

First, I participated in able-bodied ski races like any other kid until I was discovered by the former head coach of a disabled athlete at the age of 13 in 2004, at which point I was incorporated into a junior team.

Since then, I worked myself up through the various levels until I reached the national team in 2010.

Now, I’ve already had nine years of experience with the national team, so some consider me a veteran.

My father has accompanied me on my journey, and he himself was a national coach of our team at the Torino 2006 Paralympics.

As for myself, after my most successful season, I’ve prepared myself over the summer with intense training for the upcoming Paralympic season.

Because I’m a student, I had a lot of time in the summer, and thus this lead to nine to 12 workouts a week and ideal training time for Sochi.

Please feel free to follow me on my athlete Facebook page for more insights, and I look forward to keeping you updated on my road to Sochi 2014 through my future blogs.

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