(NEXSTAR) — While most American teenagers get their education in a classroom, some teenage Olympic hopefuls do all of their learning on the slopes.
In this week’s Journey to Beijing, Nexstar’s Matt Barnes talked to a young skiing aerials hopeful who is looking to fly his way onto a spot on Team USA.
Before Quinn Dehlinger learned to fly like he does now, he was hitting the snow at perfect north slopes in southeast Indiana.
“There we did slopestyle, we did rails, jumps. Learned how to flip. Learned a little bit of air awareness,” Dehlinger said.
It was at perfect north Dehlinger was recruited to join the U.S. Aerials team. That meant moving to Lake Placid, New York, at age 13, away from his hometown in Cincinnati, Ohio. But that move has paid off. Six years later, he’s now training in Park City, Utah, in his third year on the national team.
“As a young guy on the team, it means I always have to push the older athletes to make sure they don’t get comfortable in their positions,” Dehlinger said.
And for Dehlinger, it means pushing himself to new heights. Last year was his first full World Cup season jumping on the triple, a big step up from the smaller ramps.
“What really makes the difference in speed. The amount of speed you’re going into the triple lift is just mind-boggling. It’s intimidating. So when you’re at the top of the triple on snow, it definitely gets your heart racing,” Dehlinger said.
Being just 19, Dehlinger expects to have multiple chances to make the Olympics. But there’s no time like the present to qualify for his first games.
“The far-out goal has been 2026. That’s where I’ll be in my prime and I know that’s where I’ll have my best shot to bring home a medal. So, that’s what I truly have my eyes on but I’m going to try and do the best job I can this season and we’ll see how I do. And if the results hold and hopefully I’ll qualify for the 2022 games,” he said.
The first of six World Cup events is next month in Finland. Dehlinger’s results in those events will determine if he makes the Olympic team or not.