Olympic Q & A: Steven Nyman, USA Alpine Skiing
Growing up at the Sundance Resort in Utah, run by actor Robert Redford, Steven Nyman was constantly influenced by nature and the arts. (His father ran the ski school and mother was a ski instructor there.) Steve made his Olympic debut at Torino in the Super G, Downhill, and Combined events and is expecting big things at Vancouver.
MindBodyGreen: Were you always athletic? When did you start skiing?
Steven Nyman: I have always been athletic. I come from a very active family and have fond memories of hiking, camping, biking and skiing with them as kids. We grew up in the mountains at Sundance, Utah. There isn't much up there except beautiful terrain and as kids there weren't many other young families up there so were had each other and the mountains to play with.
MBG: If you couldn’t ski, what other sport would you like to play professionally?
SN: If I couldn't ski I would love to play basketball but I'm not that good. I can just rebound and hit the occasional shot. Currently I am really into kite boarding. Being a winter athlete working in the cold year round gets tiring. When I look at my kiting mags I become quite jealous of their lifestyle.
MBG: You grew up on Robert Redford’s Sundance resort, what was that like?
SN: Sundance is very conscience of the environment. It is a simple place with the necessities, and not much more...It is small and simple. No big base areas, no big lifts, and it has been that way for years -- I love it. I ski the whole world and it is still my favorite place to go. Sundance was an example to me because of the simplicity and the lack of waste attitude they held. It seems like they aren't there to make tons of money -- they want to be there for the enjoyment of nature. It is very influenced by the arts so there are very intelligent minds that make their way through the resort and I think they have a tremendous influence on the development of the resort along with Redford who is a major advocate of living green.
MBG: How do you cross-train during the spring and summer?
SN: I love to cross train and put myself in adverse situations through different sports. That is downhill ski racing. There are always curve balls being thrown at you and you have to adapt while going 80mph! I like to scare myself as well by mountain biking and kiteboarding. I am also getting into standup paddle boarding down rivers. My main focus is trying to get healthy after beating myself up through the winter so I spend a lot of time on the road bike.
MBG: Do you visualize your races before you compete?
SN: Visualization is a huge part of skiing and sport in general. You have to first see yourself doing what you want to do before you do it. We inspect the courses before we run them and we have to memorize them and then convince ourselves that we are capable of pulling off some of the lines it takes to win. You have to believe. I have a slogan, believe in Steven. I have pins and shirts I give out!
MBG: What does mind/body/green mean to you?
SN: Mind/body/green is the way I like to live. Simple, healthy and believing.
MBG: Tell us more about your “Popeye Power Diet” – did it work? How did it make you feel?
SN: The Popeye power diet didn't last too long but I am growing my own spinach now and enjoying eating out of my garden. For a summer I was putting spinach in everything and I was full of energy. For a time I could relate to Popeye.
MBG: Favorite guilty indulgence?
SN: If I'm in a hurry, McDonald's McMuffins...not so green but sooooo good.
MBG: What’s on your playlist before you race?
SN: Pearl Jam, Tool, Presets, something that has a hard energetic beat.
MBG: Who inspires you?
SN: My influences are anyone who pushes themselves beyond their current state. People who love pushing limits, if it be in your mind or body or your surroundings.
MBG: Favorite quote?
SN: "The grass is greenest where you water it." -- My dad, Scott Nyman
MBG: Is there anyone you are looking forward to meeting at the Vancouver Olympics?
SN: Meet at the Olympics? Everyone from volunteers to competitors! It is amazing how many people donate their time to make the games happen!
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