Going for the Olympics is More than Just About Going for the Gold: Women’s Ski-Jumper Abby Ringquist’s Inspiring Story
Ben Pieper Photography
Some young women are truly born to lead. Abby Ringquist is one of them. This talented ski jumper grew up just having fun on the slopes, but over time, she turned an after-school hobby into a professional career. And she’s on track to be an Olympic contender–if not champion–in the upcoming Winter Olympics.
1,000 Dreams Fund partners up with Abby and other young women pursuing their dreams in sports. Get to know Abby and join #TeamAbby as she makes her way to the Gold.
1DF: You were born and raised in Utah, which is — of course — the place for snow sports. How and when did you get into ski jumping?
Growing up in a winter wonderland, it was easy to fall in love with skiing and snow. My school district has a neat program where the students have half days on Friday in elementary and middle school- This allowed for after school programs, skiing, snowboarding, ski jumping, etc. My older brother signed up for the ski jumping after school program, and of course I wanted to be just like him, so I started ski jumping! He was in 3rd grade, I was in 1st grade.
1DF: Ski jumping requires some pretty serious training! Tell us about your early training days.
When I first started ski jumping, it was only a few days a week of being on the hill. You start jumping with regular alpine skis, and on the really small jumps. Once you get better on the small jump, you move up to the next size hill and get nordic ski jumping skis. The hills get their names by the distance (in meters) from the take off point to the point on the landing hill where it starts to flatten out. So in Park City, we have a 10, 20, 40, 64, and the Olympic size 90 &120. The first time I jumped the 120 I was 13!
1DF: You’ve mentioned that there are few female ski jumpers you could really look up to. What other athletes do you admire?
I always looked up to the male ski jumpers. My very favorite is a Japanese jumper named Noriaki Kasai, he is still jumping at the highest level, with great results and is known as the legend! He is 45 and started jumping in World Cups the year I was born-1989! I also admired Mia Hamm and ski racer Picabo Street.
1DF: As a teenager, did you ever have to make a tough choice between staying focused on your training and doing something more “fun”?
Luckily, I was a pretty big tomboy and always loved sports, and so did my best friends. But of course, I missed a lot of fun things in high school because I was gone so much for ski jumping. That never really bummed me out though, because ski jumping was and still is my passion. At least prom is in may, and I actually went to 3 of them!
1DF: How do you keep yourself motivated?
Motivation is tough and can easily slip away. But for me, one of my biggest motivation booster is being a role model. When people believe in me and look up to me, it gives me an extra gear to work my butt off because I want to make them proud. That encouragement makes me want it even more for myself.
1DF: Tell us about your philosophy “Never Give Up.”
Never give up became my mantra after I missed the Olympics in 2014. That was devastating to not go to the first event in the Olympics for Women’s ski jumping. I cried the whole month of February. I went through so many negative thoughts and it took a few months to pick myself up again. I told myself to never give up on my dream and more importantly on myself. If I have a hard day and feel unmotivated, I tell myself ‘never give up’ and I remember why I am here and why I am doing what I am doing.
1DF: What challenges have you faced on the road to the Olympics?
The biggest challenge I have faced on this journey is funding. Being an athlete is like a job, but for some of us, I have to pay to do my job. This season will cost me $20,000 and I still don’t know where I am going to get it, especially when I have a mortgage, animals, and bills. But if there is a will, there is a way. And gratefully, the 1,000 Dreams Fund noticed my will and are helping me find a way!!
1DF: What’s a standard day of training like for you now?
Since the beginning of August and until the end of the ski jumping season in March, I am living and training in Slovenia where our World Cup coach lives. Ski jumping is a huge sport in the country, and the majority of the continent! So while I am here, I train 6 days a week with Sundays off unless we have a competition weekend. Every day I go for an hour walk, 3-4 days a week I jump and 5 days a week I am in the gym using my BStrong training system, where I do core exercises, plyometrics, stability/balance, and leg work. As well as imagery exercises a few days a week.
1DF: Why are you excited to partner with 1,000 Dreams Fund as you head to the Olympics?
I am so excited to partner with 1DF, especially this year, because they believe in me and my journey, which is so huge for me!! I hope I can inspire girls to never give up and 1DF will help get that message out to not only athletes, but everyone pursuing their dreams!
Learn more about 1,000 Dreams Fund’s partnership with Abby to help fund girls’ sports dreams here!