The USA’s Andrew Soule created history in 2015 by becoming the most decorated US skier at a World Championships winning five medals at home in Cable, Wisconsin.
He won the overall men’s sitting IPC Cross-Country Skiing World Cup and ranked fourth in biathlon.
Soule’s best-ever season enters at No. 30 in the International Paralympic Committee’s Top 50 Moments of 2015.
The US athlete puts his incredible success down to careful preparation, focused specifically on the World Championships, by himself and his team.
“Our team worked hard to prepare for Cable, and we based a portion of the season around being ready for it,” Soule said. “I spent a couple of weeks before in Midway, Utah, training with my team and the last few days in Minneapolis. It was awesome how everything came together. I was just well prepared and rested and being able to perform that well on home soil was amazing.”
The 35-year-old Texas native won two silver medals in biathlon in the 7.5km and the 15km individual races. In cross-country he won another silver medal in the 10km and two bronze medals from the 1km sprint and the 15km.
Winning multiple medals was not the only thing he took away from Cable however. “I actually learned a lot about my body in terms of preparing and bringing myself to a racing peak and holding myself there. In Cable, and then after in Japan [World Cup], I performed so well largely because I was well prepared physically and mentally. My coaches and team were a huge part of getting me ready to compete like that.”
These valuable lessons are ones he intends to use going forward.
“I am very excited for the new season,” Soule said. “I do not set specific goals for myself in terms of how I will place but I always want to know that I have improved on my performance, and that I have learned how to race faster and better and to be a good sportsman.”
Soule comes from a military background and joined the US Army soon after the September 11, 2001 attacks. An explosion while on duty in Afghanistan resulted in him having a double amputation above his knees in 2005.
Among all his success in para-sport, Soule said one race in particular stands out: “I don't know if I really have a favourite race from Cable, every race had great moments, but the finish of the sprint final, where I came out of the last corner trailing by half a ski length and accelerated into a third place finish at the line is a great memory.”
Soule is hoping to create similar memories in the future as he prepares for the next scheduled World Championships in 2017 and ultimately the Paralympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, in 2018.
“I am very excited for our whole team going into the next few years,” he said. “We have a great plan in place to perform our best and we have a fantastic team, with people I love being around.”
To find out more about the IPC’s Top 50 Moments of 2015, visit the dedicated page on the IPC’s website.