Welcome to the spotlight Morgan Schild.
The New York native is set to make her Olympic debut in PyeongChang and, after dealing with a lingering injury for nearly two years, Schild is more than prepared for her moment on the course. This has been her dream for as long as she can remember and the 20-year-old is determined to see it end on the podium. Here’s everything you need to know about the talented skier:
1. Schild Will Make Her Olympic Debut at PyeongChang
After suffering an injury that kept her off her skis for nearly two years, Schild secured her spot on Team USA with a dominant performance at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah. She placed third at the world cup stop and the Olympic berth was the highlight of a comeback tour that’s been as challenging as it’s been rewarding.
Schild described her excitement at making her Olympic debut, telling Powder Magazine:
The Olympics have been a dream of mine for a long time. I hope I can get the chance to represent my amazing home mountain with some teammates that I learned to pizza and French fry with, and do it on the Olympic Stage.
It’s been a long time coming, but Schild is ready for her moment and anxious to take the world by storm.
2. She Missed Nearly Two Years of Competition With a Torn ACL
It has not been an easy journey for Schild.
The 20-year-old suffered a devastating knee injury in March of the 2014-15 competition season, tearing her ACL and undergoing two different surgeries. She missed 22 months in recovery and rehabilitation.
It was a frustrating time for Schild, not just because she was missing so many opportunities in her sport, but because she’d seemingly already found her footing. Schild was the overall NorAm Tour Winner in 2014 and, the following year, was named Rookie of the Year for the FIS World Cup.
Schild made her comeback in January 2017, picking up exactly where she left off. She notched a third-place finish in moguls in her first competition and, one year later, captured gold at Deer Valley before wrapping up the season by becoming 2017 U.S. national champion for moguls in March.
3. Schild Earned the Nickname ‘Warpaint’ While Competing
Schild picked up the moniker “Warpaint” from her coaches for her concentration during competitions and her determination to push the limit on every single one tricks. But where did that inspiration come from?
Schild wasn’t even in high school yet when she was watching the Vancouver Olympics, but she tuned in for the moguls and aerial event to see Jeret “Speedy” Peterson execute the “hurricane” as a jump – five twists and three flips – and suddenly, it all clicked. “I knew I wanted to be like [them] and get a gold medal, but I was ages away from that,” Schild told NBC Olympics. “I was 12 at the time and became addicted ever since.”
4. She Joined the U.S. National Team When She Was 16
Schild turned her focus, full-time to skiing when she was just 16 years old, but she didn’t always have the support of everyone in her life. In fact, she told NBC Olympics:
I was told by my high school English teacher (Mr. Davidson) that I should quit skiing and get back to reality. I was so sad and angry that he set off a fire inside me. I knew that one day I was going to laugh in his face and prove him wrong. That year, I made the U.S. Ski Team, and the next year I won my first World Cup.
Turns out Schild made the right decision and, despite the challenges, she never once gave up on her goal. After all, she’s got quite a legacy to live up to. Schild cites Hannah Kearney – 2010 Olympic champion and 2014 bronze medalist – as her inspiration and is hoping to do both her idol and her country proud in PyeongChang.
5. Her Parents Encouraged Her to Play Multiple Sports
Schild has always been athletic and even after she started skiing competitively, she was determined to participate in as many sports as possible. In fact, while she was in high school Schild’s parents encouraged her to continue to play soccer, softball and even cross country skiing.
Eventually, however, Schild started to focus her talent. She took to the slopes regularly and trained at Bristol Mountain, working with five other skiers her own age and, now, all of them are set to compete at the 2018 Olympic Games. Collectively, the group has dubbed itself the “Bristol Mountain Super Six.”
“If Greater Rochester was a country, we’d be the best ski team in the world,” coach John Kroetz told Roc Parent. “The whole community should be super proud of what our hometown athletes have been able to accomplish.”
Of course, every parent is proud of their child, particularly when that child is Olympic-bound, but Schild’s parents have been front and center throughout her career. Schild found her mother as soon as she wrapped up her Olympic-qualifying run, telling the Salt Lake Tribune, “It’s a huge relief or pressure now and I’m just on cloud nine.”