KAMLOOPS --- Most kids dream of having the opportunity to represent Canada at the Olympics.
Kamloops native Elli Terwiel had a chance to live out that dream, skiing in the slalom at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Terwiel has since retired from professional skiing, but she will be returning to Kamloops for the B.C. Winter Games.
She will serve as an ambassador and says the B.C. Games were her first opportunity to compete at a multi-sport event like the Olympics.
"There are a lot of similarities on how they are set up." says Terwiel, "Obviously the pressure at one is a little bit higher than the pressure at the other, but it was a huge stepping stone, and the more times you get to experience that throughout the rest of your career the more normal it is."
The B.C. Winter Games are structured very similar to the Olympics, with a variety of events, all the athletes being housed together and with opening and closing ceremonies.
Terwiel says for most athletes it will be their first time to experience an event like this, and athletes should look for new friends in their sport.
"Building memories and building experiences with people who are in the same event --- getting to spend time with them is something to cherish and really enjoy and look forward to."
For some athletes this will be the highest level of competition they will reach, but Terwiel hopes to inspire young athletes, like she was in 2002. (B.C. Winter Games in Williams Lake)
Skiing has been a big part of her life since she was born, and Terwiel has one memory that involves meeting Nancy Greene at Sun Peaks."
"She came out and said 'hey want to see something really cool -- I've got these medals. Do you want to put them around your neck?' and I put them on," says Terwiel, "and I remember her tellling me 'I won those at the Olympics.' I was 5 years old and then she handed me the crystal globe she won for winning the overall World Cup, and she let me cross a slate floor with that to go show my parents. And I remember saying one day I'm going to get one of these."
Ellie Terwiel will be at Sun Peaks this coming weekend to do some encouraging, motivational speaking, and potentially inspiring a future Canadian Olympians.
The games run from this Thursday, February 22 to Sunday, February 25 and will feature over 1500 athletes competing at events around Kamloops and area.
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