Thomas Walsh celebrates his silver medal on the podium during the medal ceremony for the men's standing giant slalom on March 10, 2022 in Beijing.
When Thomas Walsh tested positive for COVID-19 on Feb. 12, putting his Paralympic Games in doubt, he was determined to do anything he could to get to the Games safely and land on the podium.
Sure enough, there he was less than a month later holding a Paralympic silver medal after finishing second in the men’s standing giant slalom, just four hundredths of a second behind gold medalist Santeri Kiiveri of Finland, who finished with a time of 1 minute, 55.40 seconds. France’s Arthur Bauchet won the bronze medal.
It was the only medal that the U.S. Para alpine skiing team would collect at the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, and the 27-year-old Walsh of Vail, Colorado, was grateful for it.
“I've ski raced my whole life,” said Walsh, who appeared in his second Games. “I've always wanted to be an Olympian. Now I am a Paralympian, and now I am a Paralympic medalist.”
Walsh just missed another podium with a fourth-place finish in the super combined. He also placed sixth in the slalom and 15th in the super-G.
“This Games has been a little challenging because I had to deal with some COVID protocol stuff before I got here,” Walsh said. “For my first competition in the super-G, I was less than 48 hours in the country.”
Walsh, who had recovered from Ewing’s sarcoma in 2010, said he was so unsure if he would be at the Games that he actually unpacked his bags.
“That’s when I decided competing is a blessing,” said Walsh, “and anything that’s going to come of it is more of a blessing.”