Paralympic gold medalist speaks at Olympic Day
By Senoir Airman Allen Pollard, 9th RW Public Affairs
/ Published July 06, 2012
BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., --
A Paralympic gold medalist spoke to members of Team Beale during Olympic Day at the Youth Center here June 27.
Jennifer Kelchner said she was only four years old when she was injured in an accident which took her right leg.
She told students about what inspired her to not give up on her dreams.
At the age of seven she met the members of the United States disabled ski team.
"It was amazing," said Kelchner. "They showed me that I could accomplish anything."
The gold medalist recalled the phone call she received when she was 15 years old informing her that she had made the United States disabled ski team.
"It was so exciting to be a part of a team of world class athletes," said Kelchner.
At her first world cup event Kelchner's dreams of gold were dashed when she crashed on her first race.
Kelchner said she thought of quitting and maybe skiing wasn't for her.
"I lost confidence in myself," said Kelchner. "But I knew I had to get it back."
In her next Paralympics opportunity all her hard work and dedication earned her a gold medal in downhill alpine skiing.
"It was the proudest moment of my life," said Kelchner. "Standing at the medal podium watching your flag drop and hearing your national anthem play; I can't think of a prouder moment."
After her story, audience members took photos and received autographs from the gold medalist.
"It means everything that she took the time to drive down and tell her story," said Jeanene Graves, youth sports director. "The kids responded well and she is very inspirational."
Kelchner said that she tries to show children that no matter what hardships you have in life you can accomplish anything as long as you keep at it.
"If you have a dream, follow it to the end," said Kelchner. "And never give up."