Thomas Walsh named to U.S. Paralympic World Championship team |

Thomas Walsh named to U.S. Paralympic World Championship team

Vail skier will compete in his fourth Paralympic World Championships, fresh off a silver medal at Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022

Thomas Walsh (second from left), will compete in his fourth Paralympic World Championships Jan. 21-29 in Espot, Spain.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

It was announced on Jan. 17 that Vail’s Thomas Walsh will headline a group of nine athletes — six men and three women — who are set to compete for the U.S. at the 2023 FIS Para Alpine Skiing World Championships in Espot, Spain Jan. 21-29.

“This team is eager to continue their competitive progression amongst the best athletes in the world,” Tony McAllister, U.S. Paralympic Alpine Skiing’s associate director of high performance, stated in the Team USA press release earlier this week. “We have already had a great start to the world cup season and are excited to continue climbing the ranks as we begin this new Paralympic quad.”

It will be the fourth world championship appearance for Walsh, who has two world championship bronze medals in his career.

“It is always an honor to be selected to represent our country, Team USA, and our Vail Valley community, no matter the event,” Walsh said, adding a quick thanks and shoutout to his mom and the entire community for their support. “I feel that I have gained valuable experience through all of my eight seasons on the World Cup circuit, at World Championships, and at Paralympic games and I feel comfortable and confident that I will be able to bring my best performance come competition time.”

Walsh said one benefit of his experience in handling the extensive travel and pressures of professional sport is that he is able to maintain his composure while racing at a new ski resort, in a foreign country, in variable conditions.

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“I know my strengths and I feel that I will be able to draw from past experiences to be as competitive as possible,” he said, adding that the Espot venue holds a shorter speed track and a flatter hill for all events.

“With a large amount of new soft snow, conditions of all courses are bound to be bumpy,” he continued. “While I am uncertain of how my results for each event will stack up, I know that I will draw from my experiences of skiing on Golden Peak to help me do my best. All I can do is ski my fastest every single run.”

Walsh’s specialties are giant slalom and slalom, but the soon-to-be 28-year-old will compete in every event — downhill, super-G, combined, giant slalom, slalom and the parallel event. In 2019, he won bronze in the giant slalom and super combined and in 2021 he was fourth in the super combined and 11th in downhill.

“Last World Championships I was the only athlete to qualify for the heats and I hope to make it even further this time around,” Walsh stated. The Vail skier is fresh off a silver medal in the giant slalom at the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 — the only Para Alpine ski medal earned by a Team USA athlete. Since those successes, he said he’s taken a step back and changed some fundamental aspects of his skiing.

“I have kept the momentum going in the sense that I have continued my dedication to my craft and am more hungry than ever to be the best that I can be, however this has come at the cost of consistency and results,” Walsh said.

“Sometimes you have to take a few steps backward in order to take an even bigger leap forward. I feel apt to handle the pressure, however I also know that my own progression will take more than one preparation period to fully execute.”

Walsh has competed in two World Cup series so far this season, highlighted by a slalom silver in Veysonnaz, Switzerland. He currently sits third and fourth in the World Cup slalom and giant slalom standings, respectively and third overall in the World Cup standings.

“This season’s opening has been somewhat of a challenge for me. I have been working hard to truly use my new body position and line tactics in the race environment,” Walsh said. “It is a constant fight to get things right but things are moving in the right direction.”

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