Imagen
32830-Saylor O'Brien photo

Saylor O'Brien

Alpine Skiing

Biography

Impairment information

Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
LW12-1

Further personal information

Occupation
Student
Languages
English

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
Her parents used to put ski boots on her as a toddler, and she began skiing at age four.
Why this sport?
"From birth, my parents knew my life would be full of challenges. But sports represented an opportunity. They were an outlet, a chance to do things differently, to own who I was and embrace living with a disability. Yet, none of the sports stuck, until I tried skiing. Then, I felt alive. I loved every moment and I never wanted that feeling to go away. As I grew up more and more, I thought this is my sport. This is what I'm born to do. I'm going to do this for the rest of my life."
Club / Team
National Ability Center: Park City, UT, USA
Name of coach
Erik Leirfallom [club]
Training Regime
She trains between 09:00 to 14:00, five days a week, during the northern hemisphere winter months.

General interest

Hobbies
Rock climbing, Para ice hockey, painting, drawing. (backcountry.com, 01 May 2021)
Most influential person in career
Her family. (parkrecord.com, 10 Feb 2017)
Hero / Idol
US surfer Bethany Hamilton, US wrestler Anthony Robles. (backcountry.com, 01 May 2021)
Injuries
She was severely burned in an accident involving an all-terrain vehicle in June 2019. After several failed grafting operations, amnion injections were used to close an open wound in her leg. She was skiing again by November 2019. (Facebook page, 28 Aug 2019, 15 Oct 2019, 23 Oct 2019, 15 Nov 2019)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
"Something I must have on a race day is something to smell. I usually use essential oils and rub them in my hands and put a little on the nose to keep me present and calm. My anxiety tends to get riled up when I'm racing and tricks me into thinking that what I'm experiencing isn't real. If I have something to smell, then I can feel grounded, real, and in the moment." (backcountry.com, 01 May 2021)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Focus on fulfilling your life. There's no time to care about who's better at a sport." (mydiversability.com, 29 Dec 2019)
Awards and honours
In 2018 and 2020 she was named Adaptive Female of the Year at the Governor's State of Sport Awards in Utah, United States of America. (deseret.com, 20 Apr 2020; utahsportscommission.com, 19 Apr 2018)
Famous relatives
Her sister Storie has swum at state level in the United States of America, while her brother Stockton has competed in wrestling at national junior level. (trackwrestling.com, 03 May 2018; saturdayeveningpost.com, 14 Mar 2018; collegeswimming.com, 24 Feb 2018)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing. (themighty.com, 21 Oct 2020)
Impairment
She was born with spina bifida. (themighty.com, 21 Oct 2020)
Other information
SPORTING SIBLING
Jamaal Williams, who has played in the NFL for the Green Bay Packers, is a close family friend. Both he and O'Brien refer to each other as a sibling. "I tell her all the time that she's the real superstar in the family. I tell her she's the most athletic person I know because I know I can't ski even right now. I just look at her and I'm just amazed and motivated by her to see her doing something great. It makes me work harder and makes me just want to be a better brother for her and try to be a role model. But at the same time, we both motivate each other," Williams said. (parkrecord.com, 10 Feb 2017)