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U.S. Paralympic skier Tyler Carter visited Rampart High School on Aug. 9 to deliver an inspirational message to the incoming Class of 2025.

A two-time U.S. Paralympian helped kick off the school year on last week at Rampart High School with an inspirational message for incoming freshmen.

Tyler Carter, a former member of the U.S. Paralympic Alpine ski team, addressed about 375 new 9th graders in an assembly. Carter’s visit was arranged by TrueSport, an organization that partners with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to promote positive youth sports experiences “that give young athletes the tools to be leaders in life,” according to the TrueSport website.

The first day of freshman year is typically fraught with uncertainty and anxiety, as teens get accustomed to being the youngest kids in an unfamiliar building with a new set of rules. The Paralympic skier said he hoped to impress upon the Class of 2025 that no obstacle is insurmountable, provided they work at developing a set of key attributes: goal setting, perseverance, leadership, teamwork, respect and accountability.

“One of the most important things I want to tell you is to not give up,” Carter said. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fallen, and if I’d given up, I wouldn’t be standing here today.”

Carter knows a thing or two about rebounding from adversity. As an infant, he had his right leg amputated after being born without a fibula. Determined not to be defined by his physical condition, Carter participated in sports as early as he could, skateboarding and playing tennis until he caught the skiing bug after attending the Pennsylvania Center for Adapted Sport camp in Philadelphia when he was 8 years old.

Carter parlayed his love of skiing into an ascent to the upper echelon of the sport. He made the U.S. Paralympic team in 2014 and 2018, achieving a top-20 finish in the slalom at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, China.

As Carter shared his personal experiences with the freshmen, he confessed he has crashed a lot over the course of his career. But each tumble has taught him a lesson, he said.

“The most important thing to do right after you crash is to get back up,” Carter said. “I joke about it, but I do crash quite a bit in my training. The important thing is to figure out why you crashed, and try to learn and grow from it. But first, you have to get up.”

Carter, who is joining Team USA in a staff role at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, said he relishes his role as a TrueSport ambassador.

“It’s something that I’m really passionate about,” said Carter, who also works at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs. “It’s TrueSport’s mission to go out and make a positive impact on the world and really help others by teaching them great qualities and showing them real-life experiences.”

Carter said he tries to impart life lessons that transcend sports. Few people are able to become world-class athletes, he said. But nearly all people will experience a personal setback that may seem unmanageable. Carter said he hopes his own experiences will inspire teens to approach their difficulties in a different, more positive way.

“I’m an athlete, of course, but (my message) can really be translated into anything in life,” he said. “I hope the students are able to walk away believing that they can accomplish some amazing things in life, if they just don’t give up.”

Contact the writer: odell.isaac@gazette.com

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