Petoskey native coaching one of first Malaysian skiers in Winter Olympics
EMMET COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- A Petoskey native is getting the chance to make history at this year's Winter Olympic Games.
Petoskey High School grad Ryan shorter is coaching alpine skier Jeffrey Webb, who will be making history as one of the first Malaysian athletes to compete in the winter games.
Webb, 19, is based in Washington State but was born in Malaysia while his parents were visiting family there.
“It’s exciting," Ryan Shorter said. "It’s really cool to watch him be able to do this and hopefully inspire more from Malaysia to strive for the winter games. For him, he’s excited about it and the main thing he talks about is inspiring other athletes from Malaysia to pursue the winter games.”
Shorter started skiing at the age of three at places like Nub's Nob in Harbor Springs, racing for Petoskey High School.
Since then, he has moved on to bigger hills and international competitions.
“Growing up skiing at Nub’s and having that hometown hill, Petoskey’s all about ski racing," Shorter said. "It’s a little different than most places, growing up in that culture was a big part of it."
Ryan lives in Washington now, but his family has been in the Petokey area for six generations and owns the popular Grandpa Shorter's store downtown.
“We are very excited," said Jennifer Shorter, Ryan's sister. "We have marked off the opening ceremony, we’re going to sit there and watch and hopefully see him." "I think he and I as kids always wanted to ski in the Olympics, but it’s exciting that he’s going to be a coach there.”
Ryan first started coaching kids while he was in high school.
He didn't expect it to eventually take him as far as PyeongChang, South Korea to the Olympic Games.
“It’s not something I thought about when I was running a club, Shorter said. "You’re focused on developing athletes and getting them to the national team, and then the national team coaches take them to the Olympics, so this is a little different. Not something I ever thought was going to happen.”
Jeffrey Webb will be competing in the giant slalom on February 17 and the slalom on February 24.