National Athlete Stuart Hume - The Low Down
Stuart Hume is a mono-skier from Sydney who started skiing in 2010 at Falls Creek. He is now a member of the Australian Paralympic team and is aiming for a spot at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. I caught up with Stu to find out how he got to this point.
What made you want to start skiing?
When I was in Royal North shore hospital I met a fellow patient John Milton, who unfortunately like me had suffered a spinal cord injury. He happens to be [Australian Paralympian] Michael Milton's father and has worked with Disabled WinterSport Australia in the past. Over the five months we were together he slowly planted the seed in my head that skiing was the sport for me now. I was very active before my accident in 2009 and was looking for something to feed my appetite.
What did John Milton say that hooked you?
John was very positive in hospital. I guess it came partly from working with DWA for a long time. He saw me in hospital getting the hang of the wheelchair in a day and commented on my balance. He then started to tell me about this wonderful world of mono-skiers and how it's the only sport here someone with a disability can truly be free. He brought in a few posters of sit-skiers to put around the hospital. I have actually kept one and it's hanging over my desk at work right now. There was also a small wager in my favour if I make the games too.
So do you feel like you're feeding that appetite for activity? Or are there things you really miss?
Yes and no. I still miss riding my bikes.There are days when I see a few mountain bikes covered in mud on the back of a car and I feel a bit sad. Skiing though is one of the closest things I've found to give me that feeling of freedom. Also I had never skied before my accident so I only know how to ski in an adaptive way, so to me it's normal.
I'm guessing Sochi in 2014 is a goal for you over the next couple of years. What do you need to do to be able to get there?
Yep, you’re right. The selection criteria are rather tough. I'll need to place within the top 8 finishers at a the World Cup level in the 2012/2013 season and then follow that up with another in the 2013/14 season leading up to the games in 2014. I've got a lot of hard work training over the next few years both on the snow and in the gym.
Pictured, Stu in action!, Photo Joy Vokaty