Sarah Schleper: Colorado-born, FIVE TIME Olympian now represents Mexico
Not one or two, Mexico has four athletes representing the country at the Beijing Winter Olympics. One of the four is Sarah Schleper, formerly a representative of Colorado. This five-time Olympian has represented once for Mexico and four times for the US.
Schleper was born in Glenwood Springs, Colorado and represented the US at the Olympics till 2011, when she retired. After a noteworthy career that spanned over 15 years, she exited the US Ski Team. However, she did not give up on skiing or her competitive spirit. More on her international debut below.
In an interview, Schleper said, "I had retired, but I never really let it go completely. In my mind, I never really gave up ski racing." In 2007, Schleper married Federico Gaxiola, who is a Mexican. Her international debut as a Mexican representative took place during the 2014-2015 season. Additionally, Schleper also competed for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics for Mexico. When asked about her Mexican citizenship, Schleper said, "I wanted to be Mexican because Mexico is beautiful. I love everything about my country. A lot of people ask me how I feel about being Mexican, [as] some Americans do not understand why I chose to be Mexican and have not had the opportunity to see how wonderful this country is. I feel tremendously happy because I love Mexico and everything it means to be Mexican."
During the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games Schleper was selected as the flag bearer. The mother of two performed phenomenally and scored the 37th rank. Since she will soon be turning 43, she was questioned about her abnormally long career as a sportswoman. Schleper said, "I love ski racing, and I love being in the mountains and the travel and the friends - it's not a story you could dream up, just to continue in this way." She was included in the US Team at the tender age of 16. Talking about her journey and growth as a young girl, Schleper said that she was struggling a lot to make it to training as her family and coach were not too supportive.
Fortunately, she found a better, more dedicated coach and was able to "shuffle and juggle ski racing, coaching, a family, and make it work and make it fun."
These are also some of the reasons she feels at home with the Mexican team. Schleper hopes to continue racing through 2026, so she can share an Olympic experience with her son Lasse.