Andrew Kurka hails from the land of the midnight sun. Born and raised in Palmer, Alaska, Kurka grew up fishing, hunting and playing sports. As a kid, Andrew won multiple AK State wrestling titles and aspired to compete as a wrestler in the Olympics, but when he was 13 years old an ATV accident left him with damaged vertebrae and a spinal cord injury. His Olympic wrestling aspirations were effectively dowsed.
Two years after his injury Kurka tried monoskiing for the first time with the help of Challenge Alaska. He was a natural on the slopes, and wasted no time in pursuing a new Olympic dream. In 2012 Andrew made the U.S. Paralympic Skiing 'A' Team and debuted on the international circuit.
"I never ever ever imagined I would be skiing, I always thought I would be a wrestler or football player. But that's the beauty of possibilities in this world. They're endless."
"The simple fact that out of everything I have ever wanted in life, doing my best at everything I get the chance to do is the fuel to the fire. I want to do my best, when I get to the end I don't want to see that I missed a big opportunity or didn't do my best, I don't want any regrets."
"The culture and the competition, getting the chance to experience new things. New slopes, new foods and new competitions. It's a thing of beauty."
"The feeling of winning my first gold was surreal; it brought feelings of possibility into my life. It shredded any doubt I had and helped me to realize I'm becoming, without a doubt, one of the best competitive contenders in the world. Despite all the broken bones and hard work over the years I kept moving forward to win which is one of the largest dreams of mine. So to explain the feeling is beyond mere words. It all came together and helped every moment to feel worth it."
"We wake up, do activation exercises to prepare for the day, get breakfast that's usually full of healthy carbs and protein. Then travel to the race hill, get our gear on, inspect the race course, eat and take training laps till it’s our turn to race. Prior to racing we do race activation. Then go as fast as we can. When we reach the bottom, win, lose or draw we eat again and do recovery exercise. Then eat and before bed we have a debriefing team meeting. Wake up and do it again."
"Apples, nuts, snap peas or cheese sticks. Protein bars. Simple small things that keeps the energy up. Usually protein and simple carbs."
"The victory of the World Championship, I couldn't have been more excited. It's a check mark on a future career of what I hope will be filled with golds."
"I fish, hike and do dry land training, usually about 2 hours a day. Whether it's swimming, cycling, rock climbing or lifting in the gym I stay as active as possible and try new things whenever the opportunity arises."
"In every way possible, we have an amazing crew with the US team that's coming together to make us as prepared as we can ever make ourselves."
"I would watch out for Jeroen Kampschreur, of the Netherlands, young kid with lots of talent and very consistent. Corey Peters of New Zealand, he’s always a contender in speed. Taiki Morii of Japan is very consistent as well as Roman Rabl of Austria and Christoph Kunz of Switzerland."
"Hahaha no I won't be. If I did I would have a victory McFlurry."
"I would love to announce the Olympics! Or even the Paralympics, I have announced the X games before and loved it. I feel like a good announcer could really bring some publicity to Paralympic sports."
Written by Scott Will
Comments will be approved before showing up.
Get the latest news from ET!