Just a handful of days from her 39th birthday, and 20 years after her Olympic debut, Alpine skier Sarah Schleper raced in her fifth Winter Games _ and for her second country.
In 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010, she was a U.S. Olympian. On Thursday, she competed representing Mexico.
"She's not a certain age. She was always 'infinity,'" said American Resi Stiegler, a longtime friend after whom Schleper's 4-year-old daughter is named. "She has more energy than most of the girls half her age. She has a lot of life in her."
Schleper's husband is Mexican, and they got dual citizenship a few years ago. The couple _ and their two children, including a 10-year-old son, Lasse _ divide their time among Mexico, her home state of Colorado, and Italy.
She raced in the giant slalom Thursday, about eight months after blowing out her left knee, and was 39th in the first of two runs. Coincidentally, one spot ahead of her, 0.08 seconds faster, was Stiegler, as they headed to the second run of GS.
Schleper retired from the World Cup circuit in 2011, entering one last race and heading down the hill in a brown dress, scooping up Lasse on the way down.
AP Photo/Armando Trovati
But Schleper came back to her sport, which pals such as Stiegler expected.
"I always talk about the universe pushing me. I love skiing. I love competing," Schleper said. "I know I'm older. But I would probably do it for the rest of my life, if I could."