My name is Sabrina Wanjiku Simader. As the first African downhill skier competing at the World Cup, it is my relentless ambition to be amongst the best in the world. My Kenyan roots and new homeland in the snowy Austrian Alps represent a unique combination in international winter sports.
At the age of three, I emigrated to Austria with my mother to live in the village of St. Johann am Wimberg in Upper Austria. In my first winter in Austria, I was taught to ski by my stepdad on a hill called Hansberg. As a little girl, I was mesmerized by the sparkling snow and fascinated by the sense of freedom when flying down the slopes. This is when my passion for skiing was born and to this day continues to be my motivating force.
I never forget my stepdad's words of wisdom to never lose the passion and the joy of competing. With this in mind, it did not take long before I won my first club championship, encouraging me to dream bigger and aim higher. In the winter of 2012, I achieved my first big success by becoming a triple Styrian Champion.
My stepdad took great pride in my successes. He selflessly dedicated his time and efforts to train and support me in all my racing events. He spent countless hours preparing my skis to ensure I had the best conditions to win. In June 2012 tragedy struck. My stepdad, my greatest fan and supporter passed away unexpectedly and left a big hole in my mother's and my life.
But I was lucky, and I found a new skiing coach in the form of Christian Reif, a long-standing family friend and formerly Austrian Ski Team Trainer. I am delighted to cooperate with someone whom I can trust. Christian is not only a trainer. He is also a technician and a team organizer of our Kenyan National Ski Team.
After seven years in the World Cup arena, I have now partnered with Solab GmbH, a sports management company that shares my passion and believes in my potential. With my new coach, Lino Stüttler, I will get to the next level.
I look forward to the journey ahead of me and am incredibly grateful for all the support I receive from my community.
Sincerely, your Sabrina.