Golden glow

The Horowhenua Mail - - FRONT PAGE - ADAM POULOPOULOS

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.

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