12 March 2010
Experience will be key to Paralympic success
Paralympian and former RMIT student James Millar in action at the 2009 World Cup Finals, Mt Washington, Canada. Photo courtesy of Tim Penney.
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Heading into his second Paralympics, former RMIT University student James Millar knows that his experience could make all the difference.
The 2010 Winter Paralympics begin in Vancouver this weekend.
Mr Millar, who completed his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture last year, says experience plays a big part in finishing well in cross-country skiing.
“It’s one thing to have raw talent or to have refined physiological fitness, but as my first coach said ‘You have to compete to prove yourself.’ Without competition you don't know where you stand,” Mr Millar said.
“The experience that I’ve gained over the last four years has prepared me for Vancouver, has given me the ability to analyse my performance after every race and see where I can improve so I can have the perfect race. That is the goal.
“I feel a lot more relaxed going into this Paralympics, than Torino 2006. Looking back I was a young and fairly inexperienced racer four years ago.
“Going into this Paralympics I’m not only a little more confident in my ability and experience, I’m also more relaxed about the whole situation and know what to expect.”
After skiing the Vancouver course during a World Cup last year, he is confident that he knows the tricky parts of the run.
Mr Millar completed his studies in June, and has dedicated himself to preparing for the Paralympics since. He has based himself in Vail, Colorado, for the past four northern winters and recently returned from European World Cup races.
“The support RMIT and RMIT Union gave me meant I was able to train and compete full-time between university semesters, as well as totally relocate every summer to go live in Vail and realise my potential,” he said.
Whatever the outcome of his Vancouver campaign, Mr Millar will dedicate his post-Games time to career and philanthropy.
He has started the Team Homegrown Foundation, a non-profit foundation for young individuals who wish to realise their potential in snowsports. It will help them develop as athletes and achieve their goals, regardless of their situation.