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27128-Danielle Aravich photo

Danielle Aravich

Athletics

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment
Congenital

Further personal information

Residence
Bozeman, MT, USA
Occupation
Athlete, Media Professional
Languages
English
Higher education
Business, Marketing - Butler University: Indianapolis, IN, USA

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She took up Para Nordic skiing in late 2019 in Utah, United States of America, when she was invited to train with the US national team. "I'm very grateful to have the opportunity to see if this is a sport I could pursue more seriously at an elite level in the future. I have always had a love for skiing, so I would love to get involved more with the Winter Paralympics."
Why this sport?
She took up sport to show people her impairment does not hold her back. "I was competitive. I wanted to play, but I also didn't want people to look at me and feel bad for me. I didn't want people to be like, 'Ah, that's nice. She's on the varsity team, but she has one arm so she's sitting on the bench'."
Club / Team
Crosscut Mountain Sports Center [cross-country skiing]: Bozeman, MT, USA
Name of coach
Nick Michaud [Nordic skiing, national]
Training Regime
During the ski season she trains for between three and five hours a day.

General interest

Nicknames
Dani, The One Arm Dan (Athlete, 02 Mar 2022; Instagram profile, 11 Aug 2021)
Hobbies
Running, hiking, cycling, photography. (Athlete, 02 Mar 2022)
Memorable sporting achievement
Competing at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo and the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing in the space of six months. (Athlete, 02 Mar 2022)
Most influential person in career
Nordic skiing coach Nick Michaud. (Athlete, 02 Mar 2022)
Hero / Idol
US American football player Peyton Manning. (Athlete, 02 Mar 2022)
Injuries
She dislocated her kneecap in 2014. She has since experienced recurrences of the injury, as well as persistent knee pain. (nbcolympics.com, 01 Mar 2022)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
She eats confectionery before a race. (Athlete, 02 Mar 2022)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." [John Wooden] (Athlete, 02 Mar 2022)
Other sports
She has represented the United States of America in Para athletics and competed in the T47 400m at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. She has also competed in Para Nordic skiing at international level, including at the 2021 World Championships in Lillehammer, Norway, and was classified in the LW8 category for the 2021/22 season. Before taking up Para sport, she competed in able-bodied cross-country running for Butler University in the United States of America. (SportsDeskOnline, 09 Feb 2022; IPC, 18 Dec 2021; teamusa.org, 23 Nov 2021, 04 Mar 2021; paralympic.org, 29 Jan 2021)
Ambitions
To win medals at both the summer and winter editions of the Paralympic Games. (Athlete, 02 Mar 2022)
Impairment
She was born without her left forearm. "I grew up playing sports and always able-bodied sports, so since I was missing my hand, and was competing against able-bodied athletes, I've never wanted someone to look at me and think, 'Oh, she only made the team because she has one hand', or, 'Pity clap for the girl playing with one hand'. I never wanted people to look at me and think that I was any less of an athlete because I was physically different than the rest. I've always had it ingrained in me that I needed to prove myself to others to be the best athlete that I could be." (paralympic.org, 29 Jan 2021; sportmanagementhub.com, 06 Sep 2019)
Other information
TWO GAMES IN SIX MONTHS
After competing in athletics at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, she turned her focus to Nordic skiing ahead of the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing. "It feels so amazing to have qualified for Beijing. Especially considering just six months ago I qualified for my first summer Paralympic Games in athletics in Tokyo. I had to quickly try to get back into shape for Nordic skiing. I ran the 400m in track and field, so a sprint, but now for skiing, I will ski up to 15 kilometres so I have really had to increase my training load and try to get ready in a short amount of time. It's two completely different systems. If you think about the Nordic, it's long-distance, anaerobic sustainability. For the sprinting, it's just the fast-twitch. So bringing the two together simultaneously is not necessarily beneficial to one another." (kivitv.com, 06 Feb 2022; paralympic.org, 29 Jan 2021; msn.com, 02 Feb 2020)

PARA ATHLETICS FUTURE
In late 2021, she said she was unsure if she would continue in Para athletics. She endured a difficult experience at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, where she did not progress through her heat. "I definitely knew coming into it that just based on rankings and how much I was able to train in the past year for track, that I didn't have very high expectations. And I'm not really sure moving forward what my track and field career will be, especially because I've very much invested in Nordic skiing and I see a very long future for myself in this sport. Tokyo was not everything I hoped for, not just because of how I raced, but how I confronted it. But Tokyo taught me a lot, and I hope what I went through emotionally and mentally will help someone else someday after their post-Games letdown." (teamusa.org, 23 Nov 2021; daniaravich.com, 30 Sep 2021)

EMBRACING HER IMPAIRMENT
She struggled to accept her impairment as a child, but eventually grew to embrace it. "I went through issues of self-confidence throughout my younger teen years, as most girls do at that age. I was scared boys wouldn't want to date me because of my arm, and I was scared going in public because I did not want strangers to ask questions. In high school I fully embraced who I was and what made me different. It was at this age I stopped wearing my prosthetic arm and allowed my small arm to be seen in public. I realised a prosthetic would never make me truly the same as those other kids. My prosthetic was heavy, irritated my skin, and had no function. It was time to embrace my small arm and stop hiding it. I went to college far from home, and I was nervous having to make friends again and go through the process of people getting used to my arm. Luckily, I again had an easy transition. I made Halloween costumes related to having one arm, like a shark attack victim and Nemo from 'Finding Nemo'." (lovewhatmatters.com, 01 Jan 2017)

PREVIOUS OCCUPATION
Between 2019 and 2020 she worked for NBA team, the Utah Jazz, as a community relations associate. "It was really great to be able to see the team's impact on our local community. I really did enjoy the time working in pro sports and it has given me a good perspective coming into the athlete side to see how the business works." (teamusa.org, 09 Mar 2022; LinkedIn profile, 25 Jun 2021)

AMBASSADOR
She has served as an ambassador for Be More Adaptive, an organisation that helps people with an impairment by promoting a more inclusive society. (Instagram profile, 25 Sep 2019)