Niagara-on-the-Lake resident Carter Simpson will be taking the national stage next winter at the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in Calgary for alpine skiing.
This will be his first time competing at the national level.
His parents, Ann Liz and Mark, were on the Tour de France when they found out their son’s success at provincials last winter will take him to nationals next February.
The games will take place between Feb. 27 to March 2 and will include eight different sports.
While his parents wanted to wait until they got back home to tell him the news, someone from his west Niagara team posted a congratulatory message on social media.
The news was out, and Simpson couldn’t contain his excitement.
“I think you FaceTimed the world,” his mother, Ann Liz, told him.
Once the cat was out of the bag, the family friend with whom Simpson was staying in Sault Ste. Marie, Simpson’s hometown, quickly made a sign and a banner and placed it outside their cottage.
“Anyone that walked by their cottage was called in to see the sign,” said Ann Liz.
Then, as a surprise, their neighbours in NOTL threw Simpson a small party on Monday to congratulate him.
“I’m blown away by all our friends and the support both up in the Soo and here,” said Ann Liz.
The 29-year-old has been skiing with his family since he was five.
He loves to go fast down the hills, he said.
He trains in Milton with the Milton Snowblazers but grew up training in Sault Ste. Marie at Searchmont Ski Resort.
The hills aren’t as challenging this far south, said his mom, but the coaching he’s getting here is fantastic.
“He’s on a Special Olympics team, whereas in the Soo he wasn’t. There was no other special Olympian, he was the only one,” she said.
Simpson goes to the gym seven times a week and takes spin classes.
He’ll be working on his balance in the coming months and following a training program.
On top of alpine skiing, he also does track and field and swimming — a jack of all trades.
His parents expressed how proud they were of Simpson and his accomplishments.
“Oh my gosh, he’s living my dream,” said Ann Liz.
He’ll be competing in the giant slalom skiing and slalom events next February, and his eyes are set on gold, he said.
If all goes well at nationals, Simpson could be going to Worlds — which is the equivalent of the Olympics.
“I’m just so thrilled for him,” Ann Liz said.