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Post: I slept in a car for a year: how an American in Russia sacrificed everything for a dream


Snowboarder Justin Reiter walked with the team to the stadium in Sochi and couldn’t believe his eyes. He fulfilled an old dream – he went to the Olympic Games. While the USA team waited in line, other athletes recognized him. Everyone thought Justin was a coach or a man from the coaching staff.

Their paths to the 2014 Games were very different. Athletes prepared carefully, went to training camps, worked with trainers. Reuter spent a year in the car to save up for a trip to Russia.

worked as a sales manager

Justin got into the sport at the age of three when his mother bought him small plastic skis. The young athlete started riding horses with his parents. One day he saw a snowboarding company dissecting it next to them. The boy froze in surprise and decided that he would definitely stand on the board.

That’s what he did when he grew up. Reuters opted for the parallel giant slalo only instead of the popular halfpipe and incline style. His main dream was to perform at the Olympic Games.

However, things did not go well with the task. At the Games in Turin, Justin did not qualify. An injury prevented him from going to Vancouver.

snowboard  World Cup Stage.  Parallel slalom - RIA Novosti, 1920, 09.02.2023

Reiter was diagnosed with tendon problems. It required surgery and a long recovery period. Justin spent two years in rehab. He got a job as a sales manager at a golf club.

The snowboarder was seriously considering finally quitting the sport. And what? Professional performance in the giant slalom did not bring much money, even the stages of the World Cup did not meet the training period. After all, he rarely got on the podium. However, the cherished dream overtook Justin.

At first he combined performances with work as a manager, but soon realized that productivity was taking its toll. I had to quit the sport. At the same time, in his absence, the US giant slalom team quietly ceased to exist. Reuters was left alone.

Did this fact confuse the snowboarder? NO! The track he trained before is not gone, but what else does he need? He began to work alone: ​​without coaches, medical personnel and soldiers.

“I want to show the children that they can succeed without the support of the local sports federation, the industry, the country. They are capable of doing it on their own,” Reuters said.

And managed to add. He has been in the top three at the World Cup several times, and his biggest success was the silver medal in the parallel slalom at the 2013 World Championships. At that moment, Justin realized that he wanted to bring a medal from the Olympics. There was only one problem: money.

In the US, no one will fund you for travel and training without a team and sponsor. Because Reiter was all alone, he could only rely on himself. Then he came up with an austerity plan.

Justin Reiter drinking tea in the folded trunk of a car - RIA Novosti, 1920, 02/09/2023

Most of the money was spent on rent, so Justin turned it down. He started living in a car not far from the training track. He spent the night in his sleeping bag and turned the chest into a small kitchen. The athlete hid the silver medal from the World Championships in a makeshift locker that became a glove box.

“Every night I could go to a beautiful place and enjoy the view and the quiet. It was amazing. I slept under the starry sky and saw beautiful views where people paid millions of dollars. I got it for free,” Justin recalls. .

There is still not enough money. Reuters decided to seek help on a crowdfunding platform. Caring people helped him raise another 10 thousand dollars, which provided a trip to Sochi. Justin was named one of the medal contenders, but in Russia everything immediately went wrong.

failed in Sochi

Qualifying for the parallel giant slalom, Reiter finished only 24th and failed to reach the final section, which featured 16 of the best snowboarders. Then came the parallel slalom competition, but even there the American failed. The decline in qualification did not allow to reach the 1/8 finals of the Olympiad. The tournament, in which he lived in the car for a year, ended in failure.

Vic Wild, who previously played for the USA in both disciplines, won the gold medal.

“Maybe I should have done something else, I thought for the first time. But I love the country and I won’t give up on it. I have to remind myself that I chose this trip myself. Of course it was difficult. But I didn’t know any other way,” he told Reuters.

After the Games in Sochi, the American press even described Reuter as “the saddest Olympian”. But without victory, Justin did not leave the sport. A year after the Olympics in Moscow, the stage of the freestyle World Cup, in which the star came, was held. He won the parallel slalom and became the first American to do so in 10 years.

Reiter ended his career soon after and started working as a coach. Of course, his methodology does not include refusing to work with soldiers or spending the night in the car. But Justin can always easily replace one of these experts.

Source: Ria

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