Schleper with her son, Lasse, who is already learning how to ski.
You’ve been to four different Winter Olympics—Nagano, Salt Lake City, Turin, and now Vancouver. How are they all different? What stays the same? Japan was just totally overwhelming for me. I’d never been to the Orient before, I’d never been to the Olympics before. I just soaked it all in and enjoyed every day. Salt Lake City, being in my home country was really great. It was the best Opening Ceremonies because everyone was really jacked up for all the Americans. In Italy, I just went and tried to have a great time. They’ve all been a little bit disappointing. The main goal as an athlete is to win a medal. You’re not there to watch or party—you’re there to win a medal and that’s the bottom line. And I wanted to give myself another shot at that.
How has having a family changed your perspective on ski racing? Before my life was focused on skiing. Now that my family comes on the road, and just having a family, it makes that more of a priority than skiing. It’s so nice to have them with me while I’m traveling. Before, home was so far away. Now that they’re with me I feel that home is wherever I go. If I have a bad day, I come home and hang out with Lasse, and that’s anything but a bad day. He’s the joy of my life. Also, my husband does such a good job. I couldn’t do it without him.