Athlete of the Week: Team USA’s Gus Schumacher
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Gus Schumacher is only 21 years old, but his resume is already impressive. The latest accolade is that Schumacher has been named to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics cross-country skiing team for the U.S.
Schumacher has been skiing since he was able to walk. He has also been exuding confidence since that time as well.
“When I was a kid I was like, well if I make it really early when I am 17 I could probably squeeze in six Olympics. ... I’ve seen a lot of people do a lot of Olympics, so I wanted to do that, but you know, as you get older you realize that that is tough,” Schumacher said with a smile on his face.
In talking with Schumacher, one can feel the confidence that he has in himself. That feeling had been earned from years of hard work training with the Service High School ski team and the Alaska Winter Stars program. Schumacher is not the only person that has confidence in his skiing ability.
“I think after the last two, three days I am very optimistic,” said Schumacher’s longtime coach, Jan Buron. “I will not tell you my dreams, but I think he looked good and if everything goes right, you know, waxing — to have the best race of your life, you have to put all these pieces together.”
Buron could barely hold in his excitement when talking about how far Schumacher has come. Buron has coached Schumacher since he was a small boy, and now Team USA is sending Buron videos every day to update him on Schumacher’s training. Buron also Facetimes with Schumacher as much as possible, which he said can sometimes lead into more than just catching up.
“Our message is not only talk, sometimes we are fighting back and forth. ... Sometimes you know, we have to talk ... or sometimes he disagrees and I have to try to explain you know, my way. ... Sometimes the work out is not easy, right, and sometimes he feels tired but I think always to the end of the day, the job has to be done,” Buron said.
In the past 21 years, all Schumacher has done is get the job done. Schumacher was part of a relay team that became the first ever American team win a gold medal at the FIS Junior World Cross Country Championships, with Schumacher skiing the anchor leg.
His 18th place finish in his first ever attempt at the FIS Tour De Ski is also the highest an American man has ever placed. Despite all of the accolades and cool confidence he holds, though, Schumacher knows how he got here.
“There’s a lot going on in Alaska that leads to this, and specifically me, a lot of people have helped me get here, and I’m really thankful for that,” he said.
Schmacher hits the Olympic trials on Sunday, Feb. 6 in the 15k skiathlon.
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