female winner: Canada - Lauren Woolstencroft
Lauren Woolstencroft's first Paralympic experience is in Salt Lake City . She is participating in all four alpine events in the standing class. Lauren was born without both legs below the knees and her left arm below her elbow (classified LW 3/1). Lauren began to ski competitively at the age of fourteen with the Alberta Disabled Ski Team in Canada.
Lauren is full of inner strength and demonstrated her strong will, self-discipline, and tenacity. During the Ladies Super-G event, she fell and injured her knees. After witnessing her fall, people did not expect her to continue skiing for the rest of the games. She was rushed to the polyclinic where several doctors evaluated her. Although she was surrounded with doubt, she overcame her physical injuries through undying determination and an incredible spirit. She persevered and went on to win the Gold Medal in the Ladies Super-G.
Aside from her own athletic career, Lauren Woolstencroft works part-time and is a full time student majoring in Engineering. She also advocates disabled sports in her community through an organization called WARAMP in Canada . Lauren is a young woman who has exemplified determination of the mind, body, and spirit of sports and the Paralympic Games.
male winner: Germany - Axel Hecker
Alex Hecker is a veteran of the Paralympic Games as he began his first Paralympic in 1984 Innsbruck Summer Games. He began to ski at a very early age and began competing in 1983 through the encouragement of his family. He is classified in LW5/7. He was born with multiple disabilities in which athletically, his sense of balance is most affected.
Axel underwent many years of special training to overcome his balance problems. He modified his training methods in different ways in order to strengthen his abilities. It took six years of training to achieve a skill to accommodate for his balance. With his high intensity determination, Axel was able to win the Gold Medal in Middle Distance and a Silver Medal in Short Distance in the Salt Lake Paralympic Games.
Axel is involved with youth programs from his hometown. For the past three years, he has been responsible for youth programs where he provides information about sports for the disabled. He encourages the youth to get involved with sports. It has been difficult for him because he is not able to speak to the children, instead he teaches through demonstration and with the assistance of his wife. He enjoys sharing his experience and athletic skills to others. Axel embodies sports and the Paralympic Games through mind and body.