A Daring Need for Speed: Larisa's Story in Her Own Words
Larisa Yurkiw's instincts on the World Cup of racing have led her onto the global speaker podium, with a message that is at once inspirational, challenging and yet full of insight into what people can do today to excel... on their own terms, with their own values and their own spirit of achievement.
The 29-year-old skier from Owen Sound, Ont. is the first Canadian woman to win multiple World Cup ski medals in a single season, and finished her 2016 season among the top-3 downhill racers in the world.
How she got there is a brash but inspiring story that involves not just typical Olympian-determination -- but a keen goal to up-end the traditional structure of international Olympic and elite athletic structure: by crowdfunding her efforts, through what has become known globally as Team Larisa.
She trained as a child from the age of 12 to a young adult with one singular goal - the Olympics. It wasn't meant to be, but she didn't give up. After a devastating crash just weeks before the Whistler Olympics of 2010, she focused on Sochi 2014 - only to be cut from the national ski team!
In an effort to salvage the situation, Larisa found sponsors, hired a coach and achieved the qualifying results she needed to race for Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. For the subsequent 3 seasons, performing better than most National Team members, Larisa was not offered a viable offer to rejoin the structure.
In what proved to be a spectacularly risky but daring need for driving passion, she chose to remain independent. On the F.I.S. World Cup, she had the best results of her career operating as Team Larisa.
It was three compelling years of astonishing performance, as she moved in world rankings from the bottom to the top!
In her keynote, Larisa shares her story - how she managed to overcome a gruelling trek. It's a story that has involved stunning disappontments, injuries that would condem most mortals to a life of stagnation, and yet results in the ultimate goal of achieving against the world's best. Moments that had her racing from an intense workout in the gym, to slapping on heels and her mom's dress to meet a sponsor for $150,000 in funding.
The rest of us would do very well to learn from her example, beacuse it it a story of stunning courage, determination, focus, and passion.