TAKE 5 with U.S. Ski Team’s Katie Ryan

4/30/2014

Youth Sports Article TAKE 5 Good Sportsmanship

US Ski Team Katie Ryan interview on good sportsmanship

There’s nothing like the elated feeling your children get after winning a game they’ve practiced for day and night. But that good feeling can quickly dissipate when faced with bad sportsmanship.

Youth sports are a great opportunity for kids to build self-esteem and learn the essentials of playing a game. But it’s also an opportunity for parents and coaches to teach the importance of good sportsmanship. While parents cheer for their kids on the sidelines, it’s also imperative for them to be positive role models and strong examples of what it means to be a good sport.

Our kids look to their role models, and when adults and athletes have a win-at-all-cost mentality, it can ruin the game and bring out the worst in everyone.

In this month’s TAKE 5 series, we sat down with some of the world’s top athletes and coaches to get their take on what good sportsmanship means to them.



Katie Ryan

Katie Ryan is an Alpine Skier who began skiing at five when she moved from Dallas, TX to Aspen, CO. Katie was called up to the U.S. Development Team in 2011 and just one year later, in 2012, she earned a spot on the U.S. B Team. She then won the 2013 and 2014 NorAm downhill titles, a second in the overall and a fifth in the Junior World Champs super G.

1. What's the state of sportsmanship in skiing today?

The culture of alpine skiing today is one of the most fun loving yet focused I've been apart of. Of course, the competitiveness is there but underneath that, it takes a tight-knit village to be able to put on a race and justify this crazy sport we all love so much.

2. What specifically do you do to display good sportsmanship?

I'm a big advocate for giving credit when it's due, whether it be congratulating those who bested you that day or thanking the volunteers, it makes a difference. 

3. During your skiing career, what's one example of an opponent displaying good sportsmanship?

In Slalom, it's easy to straddle a gate but the gate judges sometimes miss it. I've seen multiple competitors disqualify themselves and every time it restores my faith in true sport. 

4. What can coaches do to promote good sportsmanship?

Show your athletes how they should act by doing onto others as you would have them do onto you. It means helping another team out, pitching in on course work and congratulating other athletes, not yelling at your own. 

5. What is the number one thing athletes in skiing could do to improve sportsmanship in our sport?

Be the best skier during your race - but then leave it on the race hill. 

Come back next month for another exclusive TAKE 5 Interview.


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