Congratulations to Jasmin Bambur and Andrew Kurka!
U.S. Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee, announced on Thursday, July 17th that 19 athletes have been nominated to the 2014-15 U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing National Team including two High Fives Athletes. Way to go guys!
Read the full story from the U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing National Team here.
About Jasmin Bambur:
When he was just 12 years old, Bambur and his family fled Bosnia because of war. First they went to Kosovo, but as the situation there became more dangerous, Bambur’s father located a home in the United States for Jasmin through a high school foreign exchange program. Bambur excelled in the U.S. and joined multiple sports teams in soccer, basketball and tennis before finding his passion in team handball. In 2000, Bambur played for the U.S. handball team while enrolled as a student at Middle Georgia College. One night after a long day of training, Bambur fell asleep at the wheel for only a moment, but his car crashed and he sustained a T-9 to 10 spinal cord injury which made him a paraplegic. Bambur struggled with depression after his injury, but a visit from 1992 Paralympic gold medalist Bert Burns opened Bambur’s eyes to adaptive sport. Bambur tried wheelchair tennis and basketball, along with waterskiing before he picked up skiing. Bambur competed at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games for his native country of Serbia, to become the first ever winter Paralympian in Serbian history. In 2010 he was granted his U.S. citizenship, and he was named a member of the U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing National Team for the 2012-13 season. Bambur and his wife Sarah have two daughters and live in Winter Park, Colo. Bambur is multilingual in Serbian, Bosnian, Croatian, and Macedonian.
Jasmin says: “As soon I started ski racing I decided to set a goal of competing with the best in the world. I switched to the US Paralympic Team in 2011 and have been thrilled to be involved since then. The level that this team operates at constantly inspires and drives me to be better.”
About Andrew Kurka:
Andrew Kurka’s first Olympic dream wasn’t on the slopes, but on the wrestling mat, as he was a six-time Alaskan state champion in freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling. However, his dream took a detour at age 13 after an ATV accident severely damaged three vertebrae in the middle of his spinal cord. Two years after his accident, he first tried the monoski on the encouragement of his physical therapist through a program called Challenge Alaska. Kurka is a lifelong Alaskan who seeks out the toughest lines down the mountain. He became the first person in a monoski to ski the Christmas Chute on the North Face of Mt. Alyeska in Girdwood, Alaska. Kurka also competes as a bodybuilder, works as a country music DJ and chronicles his adventures on and off the slopes in YouTube videos.
Andrew says: “I have always wanted to be the best in the world. I was told by my wrestling coach while growing up, ‘If your going to do anything, do your best!’ and ‘There will always be someone better!’ It’s made want to be the best in the world (first with wrestling now with skiing). When I first hit the slopes when I was 16 I knew this was for me.”