February 20, 2014 - 9:30 am - 12:00 pm
Thurs. 2/20, Angeli’s Qualifier will air live online at 6:30am PST.
The Final starts at 9:30am PST on nbcolympics.com.
The recap will air during NBC’s prime time broadcast the same night.
More info – Ladies’ Ski Halfpipe Qualification
While fellow Halfpipe competitors trained and competed in the years leading up to the Sochi Olympics, Angeli VanLaanen spent the majority of that time in bed fighting a debilitating disease. Her spectacular comeback to competitive Freeskiing and a place on the 2014 US Olympic Team is an incredible inspiration.
The 28- year-old VanLaanen, who placed first in the World Cup Superpipe in 2009 and was an X-Games Superpipe finalist in 2007, 2008 and 2009, battled baffling ailments throughout her childhood and athletic career. Her symptoms became truly debilitating and by the summer of 2009 VanLaanen was experiencing crippling body pain and sleeping for multiple days at a time. After 14 years of misdiagnosis, she tested positive for Chronic Lyme disease in November of 2009 and was forced to put her competitive Halfpipe career on hold.
A fierce competitor, VanLaanen faced her battle with Lyme disease head on with aggressive medical treatment, diet and lifestyle changes. “My goal was always to get back to skiing,”VanLaanen said. “At times, I wasn’t sure if it was possible to return to the sport I love so much.” In 2012 after 3 years of intensive therapy, her disease in remission, she was back on the slopes competing once again.
While recovering, she was moved to help others struggling with Lyme. Using a Kickstarter campaign, VanLaanen made a 30-minute documentary detailing her grueling experience with Lyme and her comeback to the professional Freeskiing circuit. Released in 2013, her film, LymeLight, serves as a powerful tool for Lyme awareness. VanLaanen is a spokesperson for the LymeLight Foundation, a non-profit that raises funds to give treatment grants to children and young adults suffering with Lyme disease.
VanLaanen’s story inspires everyone, particularly chronically ill Lyme patients, across the country and around the world. “I feel really fortunate to be in a position to have a platform like skiing to talk about something so important,” she said. “It’s just vital to share this information, what it’s like to have those symptoms and just getting more people aware of Lyme disease.”