Dani Aravich reacts as she crosses the finish line during the women's sprint standing biathlon at the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on March 5, 2022 in Beijing.
Q: Which sport season is your favorite, summer or winter?
A: I'm actually focusing now just on winter sport. I loved my summer experience, but got to put in four years of work in skiing to reach that medal stand!
Q: Whats your favorite event?
A: I'm starting to really love biathlon! It combines skiing and target shooting. It's extremely tough, but a really exciting challenge.
Q: What motivated you to start Nordic Skiing
A: I actually was recruited by a U.S. Paralympic developmental ski coach to try cross-country skiing in December of 2019, three years ago. And so I had no idea if I'd even like it if I'd be good at it. But I went to this camp with no expectations and I ended up really enjoying the sport. So that's what got me into it.
Q: What made you want to become a summer and winter Paralympian?
A:I was actually working full-time in professional sports for an NBA team when a family friend told me about the Paralympics. I ran track in college so I started training again. I never thought I'd be a winter athlete but got invited to a camp to try it out!
Q: How do you divide your training for three different sports?
A: This is a great question. Leading into Tokyo, knowing that Beijing was just six months away with the delay of the games, I had to try to train for three different sports and my summer sport didn't really complement my winter sport. I was running a 400 meter for track and field and then cross-country skiing I was skiing upwards of an hour. So very different events, very different nervous systems at play with the training that it involved. So it was really difficult to try to figure out how to train for both the sprint event in running and then also the long distances in skiing and biathlon. It took a lot of coordination between my track coach and my ski coach and we kind of just smushed some training plans together and did what felt best and it might not have been the best way to do it, but we didn't really know how to conquer something like this, and the goal was to qualify for both games, and we're really lucky that we were able to do that. But I'm not going to lie. It was very difficult.
Dani Aravich poses for a portrait during the Team USA Beijing 2022 Olympic shoot on Sept. 12, 2021 in Irvine, Calif.
Q: What is the Paralympic logo?
A: Something that I think a lot of people don't know is in the Paralympics, we have a different logo than the Olympics. The Olympics have the Olympic rings and we have the Agitos. It's Latin for "I move."
Q: Where is your favorite place to run?
A: I love so many trails in Wyoming, Montana, Utah and Idaho!
Q: What are your running events for 2023?
A: So, I'm going to try to do a lot of trail races around the Mountain West. I live in Bozeman, Montana, so there's lots of awesome races here, like the rut I'm going to do in September. Hopefully go to Salt Lake City, do some of the Cirque series. And my ultimate dream is to have basically get some maybe adaptive spots at something like UTMB in Chamonix, France. So I really want to step up my trail running as part of my offseason and potentially do some road and maybe try to do like the New York Marathon.
Q: Have you ever considered trail running? Is there opportunity for adaptive athletes there?
A: I have started trail running now that I'm not competing in my summer sport as something to train and help me get ready for the winter and get into shape. I really love trail running and myself and a ton of other people in the disability space are trying to make sure that races are becoming accessible and our goal is to get more people with disabilities into the outdoors. And that's something that's been a big passion of mine. So hoping to be able to change some of these different industries and make them accessible for more people.
Q: What is your favorite Olympic memory?
A: Unfortunately I've only been to the Paralympic Games during Covid. We still try to create a sense of community. I love connecting with other athletes.
Q: What has been your biggest motivation in life?
A: I think that my motivations have changed a lot over the past few years. Initially I was motivated to be successful in my business career. Now I'm motivated to represent my country well and to help the Paralympic movement growth
Q: What advice would you give to little Dani?
A: I would tell myself to be okay with dreams changing. Be flexible and willing to try new things. You'll never now when you'll discover a new passion.