Horowhenua’s newest world champion has been crowned, high in the Austrian mountains, in front of his family.
Alpine skier Cameron Jarvis won the international super G, M12 division, at the Special Olympics World Winter Games, in Graz, Schladming and Ramsau, last month.
‘‘Everyone was so pleased,’’ he said.
The Levin-based 28-year-old also took a bronze medal in the M16 international giant slalom.
It was the first time Jarvis, who has Down syndrome, has represented his country. He also attended the opening and closing ceremonies, performing a haka with the rest of the New Zealand team.
His mother, Jenny, father Graeme and Graeme’s brother, Stuart, all attended the event.
Jenny said she was happy to see Jarvis receive his gold medal. ’’He was like a Cheshire cat. He had a smile from ear to ear.’’
In both events Jarvis completed two qualifying rounds and two final rounds, with the final round times combined to give his placing.
Jenny said she was nervous watching the super G.
‘‘It was nerve-racking. I was talking to his coach [Special Olympics New Zealand alpine skiing coach Grant Haskell] and he was worse than we were.’’ ‘‘He just did so well.’’ He secured the giant slalom bronze despite a fall during one of his final runs - competitors were hampered by warm conditions, which made the snow slippery.
The Waiopehu College old boy began skiing a decade ago, through Special Olympics Horowhenua. The club nominated him for selection for Austria.
He won gold medals in the super G, giant slalom and slalom at the Special Olympics National Winter Games shortly before he was selected. However, competitors can only enter two events at the world games.
Jarvis lost about 10 kilograms before heading to Austria, and had four gym sessions a week during his preparations.
He is also a high-level swimmer and basketball player, but he said skiing was his preferred sport.
‘‘It’s really awesome ... I’m much fitter, and I like going fast.’’
‘‘He always talks about it being his passion,’’ Jenny said.
Jarvis is now working towards the Special Olympics National Summer Games later this year.
He took three golds and a bronze and the last summer games.