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article imageAndrew Kurka talks Team Hartford and 2018 PyeongChang Paralympics Special

By Markos Papadatos     Dec 7, 2017 in Sports
Paralympian Andrew Kurka chatted with Digital Journal about Team Hartford, as well as the digital transformation of skiing.
"Training in Alaska has been great!" Kurka said. "Taking some time to breath in the summer and go fishing with the family is the best time off I could ever ask for. Besides there’s no motivation like biking in Alaska and getting prepared for the winter season, especially with the hometown crowd and how willing and supportive they are with the Paralympics. This winter I have come down to Aspen to train full time with my coaches from the Team USA, so I can get in the best training possible before PyeongChang."
On his future plans, Kurka said, "My immediate plans for the future inside of ski racing, are to train as consistently as possible here in Aspen to keep looking forward through all of this year’s World Cup races and hopefully the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. I’m hoping to be an example to others and really shed light on the Paralympic movement as well as the belief that it’s possible to see challenges as opportunities to succeed and you can prevail. As soon as my season is done I’m going to be starting a B&B with a non-profit so I can take people with disabilities fishing and give tours of my home land in the summer time."
On being a part of Team Hartford, he said, "Whenever I ski, compete and travel, the sacrifices of my career and what I’m missing out on with my family are always in the back of mind. When I have support from sponsors like The Hartford and see there are people who believe in me and my cause, it helps to really keep me motivated. I like to find my motivation through helping others, I think it makes my cause that much more meaningful and purposeful. That’s why being part of The Hartford team means so much to me. Because they believe in my cause and my ability."
Kurka continued, "The will to prevail is the ability to overcome anything that stands in your path. Not just to overcome but to thrive and turn it into something that you never thought was possible. It’s the power and sense that keeps you moving forward knowing things will get better."
What asked what motivates him each day, he said, "Every day my motivation comes from the fact that I can help others and make a difference with what I do. My drive to be an example and make a difference in this world, to show that we are defined by our abilities. When I feel like I’m living for something greater than myself I’m motivated by the will of making that difference and those that stand behind me along the way."
Digital transformation of skiing
On the impact of technology on skiing, he said, "Technology has made a huge difference in so many different aspects of ski racing. From lactic acid testing, strength and power testing, to immediate share video analyses. Anything that’s able to give us that 10th of a second advantage is what we’re looking for. Especially when it comes to adaptive skiing, with new prosthetics constantly coming out, or shocks for athletes like myself that are on a monoski. Having that technological advantage or being the first to acquire it can mean the difference between gold and clapping for the podium."
On his use of technology in his training routine, he said, "We use video analyses every single day as well as heart rate monitoring. To find our optimal work load in conjunction with training percentage. There’s also lactic acid testing so we can see how we manage duration of work throughout long racing trips. To help us rest when we need to and train when we need to. There’s also a guy specifically for shocks, to help us keep everything in peak condition and ready to compete at any time. It think the technology helps give us a bit of an advantage as well as boost our confidence knowing we will be as prepared as ever."
For his fans, Kurka said, "A simple high five is in order. With a big thank you for believing in me. Let’s make a difference together and help to change lives. Shed some light on the Paralympics and show people what the human spirit is truly capable of."
Kurka defined the word success as "Making the difference in someone’s life so they may realize their own potential, and hopefully have fun in the process. That’s success for me, it’s pretty simple."
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