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Hannah Schmidt. Photo: Instagram.

Dunrobin’s Hannah Schmidt on her Beijing debut: “The best thing I can do is control what I can control.”

By Kiefer Uuksulainen on February 16, 2022

Dunrobin’s Hannah Schmidt burst onto the ski cross circuit in 2018 and will be vying for a top spot in her Olympic debut.

Apt613 connected with the 27-year-old, now training out of Calgary, Alberta, for a written interview preceding the 2022 Winter Olympics. In the interview, Schmidt discusses the normalcy of pandemic-era competition, graciously thanks her army of supporters, and prepares first-time viewers for her “nail-biting event.”

Responses have been edited for clarity and length.


Schmidt was on skis at the age of two, but enters Beijing as a relative newcomer to ski cross. The sport involves four athletes racing head-to-head over bumps, jumps, ridges, rolling hills, and banked corners in a high-speed pursuit of two qualifying spots in each heat.

The former alpine skier transitioned to ski cross a few years ago, introduced to the sport by her younger brother, Jared, who also makes his Olympic ski cross debut in Beijing.

Schmidt enters Beijing ranked ninth in the 2022 World Cup standings.

 

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She feels comfort amid the unpredictability of pandemic-era competition. “I only started competing internationally [in ski cross] two years ago, so [the pandemic] doesn’t change much [for my Olympic preparations],” says Schmidt. “I feel like World Cup races are a good representation of what the Olympics are going to be like. There are always struggles and worries around COVID. The best thing I can do is control what I can control.”

The ups and downs are not just reserved for the ski cross course. Schmidt was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 12 years old, but says: “I told myself that I wouldn’t let [diabetes] change who I want to be and where I want to go in life… I have good days and bad days, highs and lows, and everything in between.”

 

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Carrying Schmidt through the highs and lows is an army of supporters. “I have to thank my parents L.A. [Lesley-Anne] and Bevin, who have never stopped supporting me,” says Schmidt. “I also want to thank my friends that have been by my side every step of the way. My best friend, Raizel Sugarman, has been there since the day I was born and she may have thought I was crazy with my big goals to make the Olympics, but she was the first to be so excited for me and I love that so much!”

 

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She also feels the love from her hometown region. “Ottawa-Gatineau is a fantastic and supportive community and without that I would not be where I am today,” says Schmidt. “The community has always believed in my passion for sport and I have so much love and respect for everyone in it.”

All eyes will be on Schmidt when she bursts out of the gate on Feb. 17 at 10:30pm EST. “It is a nail-biting event for first-time viewers,” says Schmidt. “Only the top two in each heat move on, so there is always lots of action on a ski cross course.”


Follow Hannah Schmidt in her Olympic debut on Facebook and Instagram.