Berks Paralympics skier meets president during White House visit

Tyler Carter looks at a favorite photo he has in his Topton residence reflecting the importance of courage. ¬ photo by Kevin Hoffman, the Mercury
Tyler Carter of Topton holds up his custom made prosthesis cast in fiberglass with the U.S. Ski team logo. Photo by Kevin Hoffman, The Mercury

WASHINGTON — Tyler Carter never had the audacity to hope that he would one day visit the White House and get to meet the president.

But the Berks County skier met President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at the White House on Thursday along with over 200 members of the 2014 USA Olympic and Paralympic teams.

Fours year ago, Carter made a goal to ski in Sochi, Russia, as part of the Paralympics, but never thought he would get to meet the president.

“It’s probably one of my most memorable days of my short 20 years on this planet,” he said.

Carter, of Topton, who is missing a fibula bone in his right leg, was named to the USA Paralympic team in February and competed in the giant slalom skiing event last month in Sochi. The Winter Paralympics happens every four years after the Olympic Games. They are exclusively for athletes with visual impairments and physical disabilities.

Carter said the Obamas were very welcoming to the USA teams. “I was honored to meet the president but he said he was honored to meet us,” Carter said.

“We could not be prouder of Team USA,” Obama said during his welcome remarks to the athletes on Thursday.

Carter said he also got to shake hands and trade a few words with the president.

“I got to talk to him for like a minute, which was really cool,” he said.

He said his mom recently mailed him a copy of Obama’s book “The Audacity of Hope,” so he could start reading it before his meeting with the president. He said he talked about the book during his brief conversation with the president.

Although Carter never imagined he would be shaking hands with the president, he did set a goal to compete in Sochi. He said he was extremely honored to be able to race and represent USA on March 15 for the giant slalom in Sochi. Carter ranked 31 in his first run and 27 in his second run out of about 50 athletes.

“I put down two good runs and I’m really happy how everything went,” he said.

Soon after Carter returned to the U.S. from Russia, he competed in the Paralympic national championships in Park City, Utah, from March 25-28. He said he received two bronze medals in the event.

Carter will return to Pennsylvania after he is finished in Washington, D.C. He said he is looking forward to some time off but will continue to train.

He said he has four years to get ready for the 2018 Paralympics, which he will do by going to the gym and rowing.

“I want to start competing in the Paralympic rowing events,” he said. “I want to be a full-time athlete. I like being busy.”

Follow Paralympic skier Tyler Carter on twitter @tski2014 or visit his website at http://tcskiusa.com/.