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Whistler Olympians

In other words... Manuel Osborne-Paradis



There's an A-frame at the base of Creekside that was once the weekend home of Dr. Jim Osborne, the very first on-mountain doctor for Whistler Mountain going back to 1966. Just a few hundred feet above it is the finish line where Dr. Osborne's grandson Manny will attempt to make history in less than a week in the men's downhill and super G events.

It might have been part of some grand plan, except until recently there was no plan at all. Dr. Osborne did take Manuel Osborne-Paradis skiing for the first time at the age of three, but it was strictly recreational as Manny is the first and only member of the clan to ever crash a gate on purpose.

Even Manny is not entirely sure how he got to this point, winning World Cup events and racing in the Olympics on his home hill.

"I think it just seeped in over the years," he said. "I made the B.C. Ski Team and at that point I was really excited to make the team, and all of a sudden I wanted to make the national development team. Then there was a time on the B.C. team where I wasn't doing as well as I wanted, but then I made the development team and half a year later I was on the World Cup tour. Before I knew it I was racing in the World Cup.

"It happened so suddenly, and I kept moving up even when I wasn't expecting to. It just kind of happened."

His mother Jane Osborne couldn't be prouder or more amazed looking back at Manny's rise to the top.

"In the beginning it was just Dad and myself, we took him up and we got him started. A few years later he was in the Whistler Ski Scamps. I think there was a real camaraderie in the Scamps that carried him over into the Whistler Mountain Ski Club - it became his social life, those were the buddies he hung out with."

Again, there was no plan for Manny. Not yet.

"Manuel is also a very here-and-now person and we all kind of got caught up in the cogs of ski racing," Jane said. "I remember he had to make a conscious decision when he was a J1, age 15 or 16 with a chance of making the B.C. Ski Team, because he really wanted to downhill mountain bike and he had to make a choice. It was one or the other, both of them going downhill - he could never do anything safe."

The young Manny always had an edge that Jane found disconcerting at times, but a family friend told her that if Manny wanted to be like the world's fastest ski racer - and when Manny was growing up it was Austria's Hermann Maier - you had to be a little crazy.