Winter Park aerial skier wins Junior Nationals
Ryan Summerlin March 25, 2014
Nik Seemann, an aerial skier from Winter Park and junior at Middle Park High School, claimed the title of 2014 Junior National Aerial Champion, beating out the best young athletes from across the country for the title.
Seemann claimed the title by completing a double-twisting double backflip and a triple-twisting double backflip during the Saturday, March 15 event in Park City, Utah, despite windy conditions that make areal jumps more difficult to complete.
The wind can have a large effect on aerial jumpers, as they spend so much time in the air when completing tricks, according to Seemann. The wind can push them around during the jump and cause a sketchy landing, he said.
Winning the Junior Nationals Aerial event is great stepping stone to help Seemann prepare for the 2014 U.S. Freestyle National Championship that will be held in Deer Valley, Utah, on March 28-30.
Seemann trains with the Winter Park Competition Center during the beginning of the ski season, though he lives and trains with the U.S. Ski Team in Utah for much of the season where he will continue to train this spring to prepare for the upcoming national championships.
The upcoming national championship will see the best jumpers in the business gunning for the title of champion, including the athletes that recently returned from competing in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Back from The Games
Seemann recently returned from the Winter Olympics in Sochi as well, where he traveled with his family to watch the Olympics as part of a program for the next generation of Olympic athletes sponsored by TD Ameritrade.
The trip was all expenses-paid with tickets to a number of events, including the mogul competition where Seemann had the chance to watch his mentor through the TD Ameritrade sponsorship, Patrick Deneen.
Deneen took sixth in the competition, but that didn’t stop him from showing Seemann and the rest of the TD Ameritrade next generation athletes what good sportsmanship looks like.
Deneen spoke to the young athletes following the competition and told them how proud he was to ski in the Olympics and do the best he could, despite not taking home a medal.
Deneen wasn’t the only athlete Seemann and the group of young TD Ameritrade athletes had the chance to meet and talk with. Apolo Ohno, a speed skater for team USA, and Bonnie Blair, one of the most decorated Olympians of all time also spoke to the group.
“She was in the Olympics when I was in high school,” said Seemann’s mother Sue Seemann about Bonnie Blair.
Seemann’s mother said that the Olympians spread a good message among the young athletes, telling them to stay in school while continuing to follow their dreams of someday competing in the Winter Olympics.
Seemann’s mother was also treated to a spa day while attending the Olympics as part of a Proctor and Gamble campaign meant to thank mothers for everything they do to support the athletes in the Olympics.
For Seemann’s mother, the opening ceremonies were the most powerful part of the trip, and for Seemann himself, he enjoyed watching the mogul competition.
Stories and photos describing some of the accommodations of the Olympics painted a picture of incomplete buildings with sometimes-inadequate living conditions, but Seemann said his experience was far from what the media showed.
“I had no complaints,” Seemann said. “The hotel we stayed at was nice.”
Seemann’s mother described the hotel as beautiful and that their room had a view overlooking the Black Sea.
Seemann also came back from Sochi with a number of new friends who he met through the TD Ameritrade sponsorship, according to his mother.
“They were best of friends by day three,” she said. “And now they will be best friends for life.”
Seemann received numerous congratulations through Facebook from the friends he made while attending the Olympics.
All in all, the experience was fun and enlightening and gave the young athletes a taste of what it is like to compete on the worldwide stage, something that will surely give them an edge as they continue to train and compete in hopes of gaining a spot on Team USA for the 2018 Winter Olympics set to be held in Korea.
Reid Tulley can be reached at 970-887-3334