It’s an experience Victoria’s Michael Langridge won’t soon forget.
Skiing down the hills in Austria as fast and he possibly can, knowing a single mistake could cost him everything he’s been training for, for the past few months.
“So much stuff was going through my mind at once. Was I going to hit the gates? Was I going to ski on the wrong side? Am I going to be fast enough? Am I going to fall down?” said Langridge.
Within seconds, he crossed the finish line during the super G novice event of the 2017 Special Olympic World Winter Games from March 14 to 25. But Langridge simply didn’t cross the finish line as another alpine skier, he crossed the finish line as one of the best in the world.
The 35-year-old athlete, and the only alpine skier from Vancouver Island, recently won two gold medals at the world winter games, which take place every four years and brings together thousands of athletes with intellectual disabilities and coaches from 110 countries around the world to compete in six different sports.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Langridge of winning gold medals in both the super G novice and giant slalom novice events, finishing with a time of 25.11 and 58.01 seconds, respectively.
Langridge was selected for Team Canada after winning three gold medals in the super G, slalom and giant slalom races at the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in Newfoundland last year. While he’s no stranger to competition, Langridge admits he was nervous heading to the slopes in Austria to compete on the world stage.
But the weeks of training in Toronto, Kelowna and at Mount Washington, as well as support from his parents, helped get Langridge into the mind-set to win his gold medals.
Langridge’s coach Anne-Marie Sutherland is proud of his accomplishments in Austria.
“He was really nervous going into his competitions and he surpassed his own expectations performing on the world stage,” she said. “He overcame his nervousness, did the best that he could and definitely didn’t disappoint.”
For Langridge, competing on an international stage wasn’t just about bringing home medals, but enjoying the experience of competing with athletes from countries around the world.
“It was different, the food was different, the people were really nice over there,” he said. “It was like a dream, not everybody gets to go.”
Up next, Langridge hopes to represent Team Canada in a repeat performance during the 2021 World Winter Games.