Imagen
a female Para skier raises her arms in celebration

Mollie Jepsen

Alpine Skiing
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At age 18, Mollie Jepsen is a breakout star in the international alpine skiing scene.

The Canadian standing skier medalled in four of her five events at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, including gold in the super combined, plus silver in slalom and two bronze in giant slalom and downhill.

As a result, the Canadian Paralympic Committee named her ‘Best Female Athlete’ of 2018.

“I was thrilled to represent Canada at the Games and compete alongside so many amazing athletes. I will never forget listening to the Canadian anthem on the podium with a gold medal around my neck,” she said.

Jepsen always loved skiing and being in the mountains, with her family having a place in Whistler, Canada. "It just kind of became our life, being at Whistler."

She also practised gymnastics and was into equestrian events, before being influenced by the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

Jepsen’s career as a skier has had multiple setbacks, though, before achieving glory. In 2011, she broke her left hand.

She also tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her knee on two occasions. The first one was at age 13 and the second at 15 at an event in Austria in October 2015. In 2017, Jepsen suffered a broken ankle and could only resume training six months after. She was also diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in late 2018.

Jepsen was born missing fingers on her left hand but has part of her thumb and small finger.

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
LW6/8-2

Further personal information

Residence
Whistler, BC, CAN
Occupation
Athlete, Student
Languages
English

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She began skiing at age two.
Why this sport?
She always loved skiing and being in the mountains as her family owned a property in Whistler, BC, Canada. She also practised gymnastics and took part in equestrian events, before being influenced by the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver. "My entire life had been shaped by a few moments at the Games, knowing that that is what I wanted to do. I always wonder if things would have been different if the Games hadn't been in Vancouver because I wouldn't have had that exposure to those athletes and that energy."
Club / Team
Whistler Mountain Ski Club: Canada
Name of coach
Jean-Sebastien Labrie [national], CAN
Training Regime
She trains with the national team at the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific campus in Whistler, BC, Canada.

General interest

Nicknames
Lil Jep (Instagram profile, 26 Oct 2020)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold in the standing super combined event at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, and winning the two Super-G races at the 2020 World Cup event in Veysonnaz, Switzerland. (paralympic.org, 31 Oct 2018; bc.ctvnews.ca, 01 Mar 2021; SportsDeskOnline, 29 Nov 2021)
Injuries
In September 2018 she was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, an inflammatory bowel illness. She spent six weeks going in and out of hospital and missed all of the 2018/19 season. She returned to competition in January 2020. (squamishchief.com, 16 Jan 2020; paralympic.org, 07 Jan 2019)

She suffered a broken ankle in February 2017, and resumed training in August that year. (piquenewsmagazine.com, 23 Feb 2017; cjnews.com, 13 Apr 2018)

She has torn the anterior cruciate ligament [ACL] in her knee on two occasions. The first one was at age 13 during a training run in Whistler, BC, Canada. The second was at age 15 at an event in Austria in October 2015. She underwent surgery in December 2015 and returned to competition in September 2016. (NPC Media Guide, 2018; cjnews.com, 13 Apr 2018; games.paralympic.ca, 25 May 2018)

She broke her left hand in 2011. (Athlete, 20 Apr 2011)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
She always says the same words to herself at the start gate, and her ski technician writes a different message of encouragement on her skis for each race. (OIS, 11 Mar 2022)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Whenever I push out of the start, I'm trying to be either full gas or I won't finish, so I try to leave everything I possibly can on the hill. It definitely adds a little bit of pressure knowing that I am capable of being on the podium." (piquenewsmagazine.com, 30 Dec 2021)
Awards and honours
She was named the Female Para Alpine Skiing Athlete of the Year at the 2018 and 2020 Canadian Ski Racing Awards. (alpinecanada.org, 13 May 2020; 01 Nov 2018)

In 2018 she was the recipient of the Best Female Athlete award from the Canadian Paralympic Committee. (paralympic.org, 31 Oct 2018)

In 2017 she received a Rising Strong Award from Whistler Mountain Ski Club in British Columbia, Canada. (wmsc.info, 17 May 2017)
Other sports
She has competed in able-bodied alpine skiing. (NPC Media Guide, 2018)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing. (bc.ctvnews.ca, 01 Mar 2021)
Impairment
She was born missing fingers on her left hand, but has part of her thumb and small finger. (Athlete, 20 Apr 2011)
Other information
PODIUM PRESSURE
She says that winning four medals, including one gold, at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang led her to feel more pressure ahead of the 2022 Games in Beijing. "In 2017 before the [2018] Games, I was never on the podium and that was so fine with me because I knew I was capable of it. So it's a different mentality, for sure, going into these Games [in 2022] because I'm at the top of my game right now [speaking in December 2021] and I want to make sure that I can stay there for the remainder of the season. So that's definitely a little bit of added pressure." (piquenewsmagazine.com, 30 Dec 2021; SportsDeskOnline, 17 Jan 2022)

CROHN'S DISEASE
Over a year after her September 2018 diagnosis with Crohn's disease she felt confident about managing the condition. "It runs in my family. It wasn't a huge shock, but it's definitely been something I've been dealing with for a very long time so the diagnosis was very positive for me, knowing what was up and knowing how to control it now. Over the last year, I focused on getting control of my stress levels, getting control of my overall nervousness on race day. I had a very different kind of approach than I'd had in previous years. I was pretty antsy and could isolate myself from everyone. It's not really affecting me anymore. This is where the stress stuff came into play, because stress levels can have big implications on diseases like Crohn's disease. I'm not really struggling with any symptoms on a day-to-day basis. I do yoga and meditation and I'm doing pretty well." (squamishchief.com, 16 Jan 2020; paralympic.org, 07 Jan 2019)

OTHER ACTIVITIES
She has been named athlete ambassador for the Canadian Paralympic Committee's Paralympian Search programme in Victoria, BC, Canada. (games.paralympic.ca, 25 May 2018)

Results

Unit Date Rank
Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games (Pyeongchang, South Korea)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Downhill Standing Final 2018-03-10 3
Women's Super-G Standing Final 2018-03-11 4
Women's Super Combined Standing Final 2018-03-13 1
Women's Giant Slalom Standing Final 2018-03-14 3
Women's Slalom Standing Final 2018-03-18 2