Focus on Training. (Profile)

Palaestra, Fall 2001 | Go to article overview

Focus on Training. (Profile)


Name                              Allison Pearl

Sport                                    Skiing
Age                                          26
Height                                     5'6"
Weight                                  140 lbs
Classification                          LW 12/1
Hometown                               Reno, NV
Occupation             Medical school graduate,
                    taking a year to do reserch
Current Residence                Menlo Park, Ca

Background

Allison Pearl has been on skis since she was five years old. She began racing at a young age and was developing into a very talented skier. At the age of 18, a blood clot resulted in partial paraplegia at the L4/5. Her rehabilitation therapists took a serious interest in trying to get Allison back onto the slopes and skiing as soon as possible. Allison took them up on the proposal the second ski season after her injury, and after an attempt at four-tracking (2 skis and 2 outrigger poles) began monoskiing. Most people who were serious athletes prior to a disabling injury have a very difficult time taking up that same sport as an athlete with a disability, because they do not feel as fast, coordinated, or able to perform as they did when they were non-disabled. Allison discovered, however, that skiing was the only sport in which she was able to participate with her non-disabled friends, and that monoskiing really was very similar to non-disabled skiing.

Allison believes the feel for the snow she developed from years of skiing helped her rapidly develop her skills as a monoskier. Three years ago she made time in her busy schedule as a medical student at the University of Nevada to begin training seriously and racing again. At her first U.S. National Championships in Breckenridge, Colorado, she placed 3rd in the Super Giant Slalom (Super-G), and the Giant Slalom (GS). In 2001 she won the GS at the U.S. World Cup meet and the World Cup Finals. She finished the season ranked third in the world in the GS. Allison qualified for the 2002 U.S. Paralympic Team going to Salt Lake City. She will be competing in the slalom, GS, Super-G, and possibly the downhill.

Seasonal Training

The skiing season essentially begins when the snow starts falling in the mountains and ends with the year's major competition in March. During the ski season Allison lives and trains in Winter Park, Colorado, under coach Michael Swanwick. There are four disciplines within Alpine Skiing. Slalom is set up so the gates skiers must go between are close together. Terrain gets progressively steeper, and gates farther apart as one goes through the list--GS, Super-G, and Downhill. …

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