Olympian encourages females to go after dreams

Cory Hurley
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Olympian Heidi Widmer speaks during the Fast and Female Ski Nationals Champ Camp held in Corner Brook Friday at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University.
— Star photo by Cory Hurley

Right up until the day Heidi Widmer strapped on her skis in Sochi, Russia, she focused on chopping wood, carrying water.

Those tasks may not be as common as they once were, but Widmer’s message to a room full of young girls and women in Corner Brook Friday certainly remains true.

She may have taken on the best in the world at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, representing her country in cross-country skiing, but she told the group she is no different that any of them.

The majority of those in attendance for Fast and Female Ski Nationals Champ Camp were participants at the 2014 Haywood Ski Nationals — standing where she did only four years ago.

To qualify for the Olympics, Widmer had to realize a dream. It was a dream that could not be fulfilled in one giant leap. Along the way, she had to chop wood, carry water.

“For me, this basically means keeping everything really simple,” she said. “Any time I was scared of what I was going after, nervous, or losing sight of where I was going I just had to remind myself ... ‘this is simple.’”

For her, it was focusing on skiing laps. The same concept could apply to anybody’s dreams or goal, the Olympian said. It also doesn’t matter what that is, as long as it is important to that person.

“If your dream is something you are passionate about and enjoying, that, at the end of the day, is what would make it most enjoyable and most fun,” Widmer said.

The message came through loud and clear for Angela Cronhelm of St. Anthony.

“Nothing is impossible,” she said, flashing a wide smile.

The young skier from the Aurora Nordic Ski Club said she is not sure what her big dream is just yet. However, she now has the motivation to go after it.

Cronhelm placed well back of the leaders in her national competition, but was not discouraged by her placing. She was pleased with her personal performance, noting she skied in a category above what she was supposed to.

“I am pretty happy,” she said of getting the opportunity to participate in the nationals.

Organizations: Aurora Nordic Ski Club

Geographic location: Sochi, Russia, Corner Brook St. Anthony

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