Tyler Carter smiles after competing at the 2022 Winter Paralympics.
Tyler Carter, radiating joy and a huge smile, was busting out the moves in Los Angeles ahead of his departure to the 2022 Winter Paralympics.
No, not his skiing moves, His dance moves.
Carter, who goes by “TC,” said it only felt right and appropriate considering his journey to make his third Paralympic Winter Games.
“To say it’s been a struggle to make these Games is kind of an understatement in a way,” he said. “It really has taken me everything to get to this point. I’m over-the-moon excited, I’m thrilled to have one last opportunity to represent the U.S.”
The Topton, Pennsylvania, native was spotted dancing at U.S. team processing event in LA, where Team USA received, among other things, their bags of goodies from the official Team USA outfitters Nike and Ralph Lauren.
“Those outfits are insane,” Carter said. “How can you not want to dance when you are looking so fly like that?”
For Carter, there really hasn’t been as much reason for celebration during the four years since the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
In the 2018-19 season, he suffered a knee injury that took him out for an entire year. He had another leg injury the following season. Then, in March 2021, he contracted COVID. Carter, still with a lingering cough and breathing issues, was cleared to compete at nationals last year one week prior to hitting the start gates.
He said he felt he was performing at 50 to 60 percent of his peak level in the races.
“It really knocked me down,” he said, “and I was far from being at my best for a pretty critical race.”
As he regained steam in time for this season, he lost funding to send him to races vital for his qualifying for Beijing. A GoFundMe he set up raised $5,366 of his $10,000 goal.
But he persisted. Carter had funding come through from various people, organizations and grants like never before. That was certainly a reason to dance in LA.
“I am enjoying the moment now, and having fun when I can,” he said. “I know there will be a time for me to be a little more serious, but now is not that time.
“Being able to overcome all of this, to hang on. … I literally had to put everything I have into this, and make one final Games. It’s very special.”
Carter qualified for the downhill, super-G and super combined in Beijing.
“Going to any Games is an honor,” he said. “It’s a privilege. To be able to do it three times is unbelievable. With everything I went through to make these Games, it’s way more special than anyone I’ve been to before.”
Carter, who turned 28 in January, said the U.S. Para Alpine Skiing team has been warned that Beijing will be very cold and windy, as was the case for the Olympics.
This will be Carter’s final Paralympic sendoff, and he is very grateful for everyone who has supported him throughout his career — from his coaches, sponsors, funders and fellow workers at the United States Olympic & Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Carter serves as a guest experience supervisor, meaning he’s essentially a jack of all trades at a museum that puts Paralympians alongside the greatest Team USA Olympians of all time.
The museum has allowed Carter to share his and others’ journeys to the Games, and what it takes to become the best. Much like his family in Pennsylvania, his museum coworkers in Colorado will be keeping a close eye on his time in Beijing.
In fact, when Team USA announced Carter qualified for Beijing, Taylor Mattson, a guest experience manager at the museum, went around the building, beaming with a smile, and told every single worker Carter made the Games.
Carter, clearly, has made his family and friends proud, and he wants to make the best of his time.
“I want to put down some good runs, and I want to be smiling the whole time,” Carter said.
He said he hopes his skiing career has inspired generations to come.
“I really hope that I made a difference,” he said. “I’m getting all emotional now, because it’s wild. It’s kind of the end of a journey. I’m just hoping I made a positive impact on the sport, inspired someone, motivated someone to try something new in skiing or snowboarding.
“To show that you can do anything you want. You just have to set your mind to it, and not give up.”