STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — “I won the gold because everyone helped me,” said 6 year-old Oglala-Sioux, Delaney Tyon, at Nastar’s National Ski Championships, according to Olympic skier Suzy “Chapstick” Chaffee, co-chair of Native Voices Foundation (NVF). The event including Canada and Australia, was held at Steamboat Springs, Colorado, last week.
“I’m so proud of Delaney,” said Olympian Billy Kidd (Abenaki), now Captaining the Native American Olympic Ski Team. “He’s the fastest six-year-old on skis. Four runs means he was consistently fast,” said Kidd, who put Delaney and his grandparents, Kathy and Lou of Pine Ridge, SD, under his wing, including jobs. And the pint-sized phenomenon got coaching at Steamboat’s Winter Sports Club, producer of over 60 Olympians.
Both Native American Olympic Hopefuls, Dalaney and Mariah Cooper (14 yr old Lac Court Oreille), are a joy to work with. They’re smart, fun, great kids and students,” said Billy. As NVF board members, he and Chaffee are assisting Native youth with opportunities to compete in the Olympics. While training with the best, Mariah, who “prayer signed” for two Wisconsin Governor’s events, was inspired to honor Delaney with a ceremony after his earlier victory, saying, “He’s a very nice boy.”
Delaney’s mom, Misty Tyon, first contacted NVF through www.SNOW-RIDERS.ORG, after Dalaney was featured on Rapid City TV for “skiing like a Pro” (www.Rezriders.org). Delaney credited his Grandpa Lou, Derren Derosier, Terry Peak’s Ski School Director, and watching people, for his technique.
Mariah fell in love with skiing after Billy and Suzy inspired Ski Industry leaders to donate 60 pair of skis so Indian youngsters could compete in Wisconsin’s 2003 Birkebeiner X-Country Race (14 countries). Last year, Mariah placed 2nd in her age group.
“I found Suzy also on the internet and she and Billy made it possibly for my parents, Dale and Nancy, and I to get my dream coaching to compete in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.”
“Mariah is another beautiful ‘clean and lean’ role model. Also competing in track in September’s North American Indigenous Games in Vancouver, Mariah was voted to represent the voice of Indian youth on NVF’s board,” said Chaffee.
NVF is a non-profit Colorado 501(c)3, partnership of U.S. Tribal leaders, Elders and Olympians. Their mission is “To create joyful unity through sports and education to help heal Mother Earth for all our children.”