BETHEL — Gould Academy recently sent both a skier and snowboarder to compete in the Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne, Switzerland. Senior Maxx Parys and Sophomore Dali Gao left over a week ago to compete in multiple events in their respective sport.

Gao, a snowboarder, has competed in the Parallel Giant Slalom (PGS), Parallel Slalom (PS) and Snowboard Cross (SBX).

Gao at a competition in Colorado last year. Courtesy of Gould Academy

Gao had never competed in the SBX prior to coming to Gould.

On Monday he competed in the SBX against other riders from all over the globe and finished 16th after five heats of racing. Considering Gao is new to the SBX, his coach at Gould Academy, K.C. Gandee, was impressed by his performance, but not surprised given Gao’s work ethic.

“Dali has done well so far, especially considering how new he is to the discipline,” Gandee said. “Sixteenth place at the Youth Olympic Games is a great result for him and we’re excited about his potential this winter.”

Although Gao has snowboarded since he was 5, he didn’t begin competing until 2017.

On Tuesday he snowboarded in a team cross Event, which is when a SBX racer and Ski cross racer join together as a relay team. The team cross events were held in Villars-sur-Ollon, a village less than an hour from Lausanne. Gao’s team, which consisted of four China athletes total, finished with 13th.

He was also recently named to the Chinese National Team, and is the only one on the team that’s a student-athlete, according to Gandee.

“Dali is dedicated and motivated. He honors his craft and spends time strengthening in the gym and solicits riding technique and tactic feedback on the hill,” Gandee said.

Gao will return to Bethel on January 23.

Parys is competing in Super Giant Slalom (Super-G), Giant Slalom, Slalom and the Alpine Combined. On Monday, he was racing in Italy at a few junior events.

Parys placed 46th in the Super-G and 29th in slalom. Slalom is Parys strongest event, according to his coach Parker Gray. Gray is a 1997 graduate of Gould and returned for another stint at the school in 2018.

“It’s nice to have kids going to the next level, ” Gray said.

Gray said Parys is used to competing against 140 athletes, but over there the number shrunk down to about 80 competitors, according to Gray.

Maxx Parys competing in one of his events. Courtesy of @flyingpoint

Parys will be back in Bethel on January 25.

The two qualified for the Youth Olympic Games by the number of International Federation of Skiing (FIS) points . For  the United States and China, riders ages 15-18 with the highest FIS points were selected.

“FIS points are the average of a rider’s two best finishes per year and come from competing in FIS-sanctioned races. In the U.S., they have three to four FIS races per year, all of which are North American Cup events. Riders can travel to Canada for other FIS results, or to places like Chile, where Gould went in the summer,” according to Gandee.

 

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