Born with fibular hemimelia, Jamie Stanton was just six months old when he had his right leg amputated below the knee. His grandfather was an orthopedic surgeon so “my family made the decision based on what was going to be best,” he said.
Growing up in Michigan, Stanton played several abled bodied sports throughout his youth, including hockey, soccer, golf, and swimming. “My parents were adamant about me trying different things.” He played varsity golf and hockey into high school.
But he really fell for skiing, a sport he started at the age of three. “The first time I was on skis, I really enjoyed it,” he said. “The freedom it gives you when you are on a mountain is amazing.” Skiing also provided him with the most opportunities. In 2011, he would enter the Michigan Adaptive Sports State Championships ski races, which he would win (and repeat the following year as well). “That was the first time I had done anything with other disabled athletes. I thought of myself as a normal individual. I didn’t see myself as any different.”
In 2011, Stanton would also connect with Erik Peterson from the National Sports Center for the Disabled (a chapter of Disabled Sports USA), who would take the young athlete to Breckenridge, Colorado for Disabled Sports USA’s annual Ski Spectacular. He would go on to participate in one of NSCD’s training camps. “They were awesome the moment I arrived in Winter Park.”
From that moment on, Stanton began competing at a number of ski competitions, including the Copper Mountain NorAm and the NAC Huntsman Cup. In 2012, he would return to the race camp at Ski Spectacular and also be named to Disabled Sports USA’s E-Team, which is designed to support and empower emerging youth athletes (ages 13-24) with disabilities who are training competitively in sports that are featured in the Summer and Winter Paralympic Games.
Stanton would earn a scholarship to the University of Denver and start his freshman year in 2012 through a program that allowed him to train at Winter Park for two years and Aspen for three years. “These programs have allowed me to become the racer I am.”
He would go to Sochi in 2014 for his first Paralympic Games, which provided a great learning experience. “Sochi was my rookie season on the National Team. I was much more prepared for South Korea,” he said. “A lot less unknowns.” At the 2018 Winter Paralympics in PyeongChang, Stanton would earn a bronze medal for Team USA in Slalom. He would also place fourth in Super Combined and 17th in Super G.
Preparing for competition is multifaceted for Stanton and includes eating right, warming up, and focused training on the snow (morning and afternoon sessions). During the offseason, he is in the gym five days a week and continually watches video to see how he can improve.
While earning his college degree, Stanton began to work as an analyst on Wall Street as an intern in the summer of 2017 and full-time as a first year analyst in July 2018 with Citigroup. As far as the 2022 Paralympics, the possibility of returning is being left open. “I will continue to ski and will be evaluating my future,” he said. “I am extremely grateful to have had these opportunities. I really enjoy the competition and the camaraderie.”
NOTE: Profile photo by Mark Reis