"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life... Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition."
- Steve Jobs
Sometimes life deals us a funny hand. Sometimes we have to look defeat straight in the face to realize that victory of another kind is waiting in its shadow. Such was the case, anyway, for a nine-year old hockey-mad youngster back in 1980. Her family had just moved from southern New Brunswick to eastern B.C. And she, in turn, was stoked to play organized hockey in her new mountain home.
"I'd always played with the boys," says Whistler's Kim McKnight Pedersen. "So as soon as we arrived in Revelstoke, I went to sign up for a team." She pauses. Shakes her head. Laughs. "They looked at me and said: 'You can't play hockey. You're a girl.'" Her physician mother, she adds, was furious and would have happily taken on the old boys' network herself. "But I didn't want to be that person, so... " She shrugs. Let's her smile hover for a moment. "So I went skiing with my school friends on Mt. Mackenzie instead."
But it's not like she had a lot of snowsport experience to fall back on. Or did she? "Most of my skiing," she admits "was done on the toboggan hill back at my grandparents' farmhouse in New Brunswick. Before moving to Revelstoke, I think I had a total of six days at a conventional resort." Still, there was something about sliding down the hill on a pair of wooden slats that mightily appealed to her. Especially when she got going fast. It was a feeling, she says, that she just couldn't get enough of. And racing? "I saw this ad for the local Nancy Greene program. It looked like fun. So the next season, I signed up."
Suddenly hockey's loss became ski racing's gain. "I loved everything about skiing and racing," she says. 'I didn't start young or anything, but I had a pretty diverse sports background — hockey and soccer and dance and gymnastics..." She stops talking. Takes a long breath. "So when I finally got to the ski hill, I was ready. I was so keen to improve. And skiing being so new to me, there were no expectations. It was all about getting better, faster, more confident. I was so-o-o-o motivated."
And the results came quickly. By her mid-teens, she was a member of the powerful BC Ski Team. The National Squad was tantalizingly close. And getting closer. For it was clear to everyone that this young gal could ski. And ski fast.
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