ALASKA latino stars
the sky champion with a
beautiful touch in the snow
by itzel yagar
Gabriel Sullivan, at 12 years of age, became the ski Champion of Alaska in the U12 Slalom 2018 category. When his parents gave him the uniform with which to compete, he asked his mother to sew the Mexican flag on its shoulder. Gabriel said that he likes Mexico, he is Mexican and wanted to show it. He began skiing at age two and dreams of one day competing in the Olympics.
During training season, Gabriel practices from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends and Wednesdays. One of the coaches told Monica -his mom- that “Gabriel has a beautiful touch in the snow” as if he glided freely on the snow.
Besides skiing, Gabriel also loves playing piano and trombone with a jazz band in some bars in Anchorage. I asked him, “how do you do to organize school, skiing, and music?” He responded, “I just try to balance it out. On the weekends I focus on skiing. But, during the week I go to school and sometimes I play piano early in the morning, and in the afternoon, I play trombone. Plus, my mom bugs me to practice.”
Gabriel and his family go to Mexico once a year to visit his mom´s side of the family. There, he doesn’t practice skiing or music because he prefers to spend time with his family and enjoy them.
The ski competitions in Alaska are very demanding because the participants train rigorously, I asked, “What happens when you lose?”
“When I don´t win, I am still happy for the ones that did win. I just work harder and try to get the picture of the gold in my head. When I am racing I tell myself go faster! go faster!”
Finally, I asked Gabriel, “What would you say to Latinx children about your experience?”
He said, “To keep trying and work hard. If you think you’re good then work harder because you can get better and try your best!”