NEW YORK (May 4) - U.S. Adapative Ski Team member Caitie Sarubbi (Brooklyn, NY) had the honor Monday of ringing the opening bell to kickoff the week at the New York Stock Exchange. Sarubbi, a 19-year-old visually impaired athlete who has come up through the Adaptive Sports Foundation program at Windham Mountain, NY, is balancing studies at Harvard with her skiing career.
"It was an honor to ring the bell and also to represent the U.S. Ski Team and the Adaptive Sports Foundation. It was great to have that notoriety brought to those two organizations and I appreciate everyone who helped put it together," Sarubbi said. "I was nervous. I didn't want to screw up. But, you press a button and hold it for 10 seconds, then when it rings everyone claps and cheers. It was fun."
Sarubbi was born with a Ablepharon Macrostomia Syndrome (AMS) that left her without eyelids. After countless surgeries over many years, she remains visually impaired.
She was introduced to skiing at the age of 11. The young athlete was invited to join her father, a New York firefighter, as a guest to The Hartford Ski Spectacular at Breckenridge, CO. That led to her following her newfound passion at the Adapative Sports Foundation.
"Skiing unleashed a feeling of freedom in me that I had never experienced before," she said. "I felt like I was on top of the world, and that nothing could ever stand in my way. For the first time I felt there was no boundaries, no limits, no disability. I was free to do whatever I wanted. I was fortunate enough to join the family of The Adaptive Sports Foundation, which served as the best place to continue this incredible journey."
The Adaptive Sports Foundation (ASF) is a non-profit organization located at New York's Windham Mountain. The ASF provides over 2,800 lessons annually to individuals with cognitive or physical challenges. The ASF is among the leading adaptive sport programs in the country.
Sarubbi, who was on the 2009 development team, is nominated for the C Team for 2010 and hoping to qualify for her first Paralympic Team and compete in Vancouver. She is a pre-med undergrad at Harvard.
"Caitie is one of our athletes on the rise. At her first World Cup start in Whistler she was just off the podium. With a full time schedule of training, she can be competitive at the Paralympic Winter games next year," U.S. Adaptive Alpine Head Coach Ray Watkins said. "We are excited to have her for a full season. She is a very talented young lady."