Coach Ron Struch is enjoying celebrating his athletes’ recent achievements.
His team just returned from the Canadian Special Olympics in Thunder Bay, with one of his athletes bringing home some impressive hardware.
“I did pretty good. I got three bronze medals in a row in the Super-G, the GS and Giant Slalom,” says Michael Milani, who’s been working with Struch for nearly fifteen years.
“They’ve known each other since he was just a teenager, there’s just this trust and camaraderie like we’re ski buddies, but it’s not like you’re with your dad. It’s almost the same; its like you’re with an uncle.” Michael’s mother, Janine Milani explained.
Coaching wasn’t Struch’s first [passion though. That was skiing.
He was skiing with Manitoba Alpine in 1999 when a unique opportunity arose.
“They advertised that Special Olympics needed a coach for an upcoming event so I applied, went in to talk to them and they said we’d be happy to have you as a coach,”
Just like that, the retired teacher quickly discovered a new way to enjoy the sport.
“They’re so much fun to coach with, they’re so much fun to be with.”
Struch says the key is building relationships, something he plans to continue to do.
“Every year the progress that all of these athletes make, yeah that keeps me coming back,” he concluded.