Baumgarter an inspiration to UP young people

Iron River native Nick Baumgartner is more than an Olympic team member, he’s an inspiration to children, especially those who like him are Yoopers.

Getting ready to participate in snowboard cross in his third Olympics, Baumgartner took time out from preparation to visit with youngsters in the Marquette and Negaunee school districts Wednesday.

To say the youngsters were thrilled was an understatement. Just imagine hearing hundreds of young voices chanting “USA, USA” throughout Negaunee’s Lakeview Elementary School gym and you get the idea of how thrilled these kids were to meet a real-life Olympic team member.

Baumgartner’s upcoming trip to Pyeongchang, South Korea, marks the third Olympic competition for the Winter X Games gold medalist, former state champion hurdler and all-state football player.

Baumgartner added snowboard Olympian to his resume in 2010, scored a World Cup victory in addition to an X Games gold medal in 2011, and made a second Olympic appearance for the U.S. in 2014. Part of his message to the kids was this: now is the time to try new things.

“I want to kind of share with you guys that … I know it’s scary to try something new sometimes. But if I was afraid to try snowboarding that first time, I might not be here talking to you guys,” Baumgartner said. “Try those new things — try them and do them the best you can because you really don’t know what could come of it unless you really try it.”

Also, he emphasized something parents everywhere can appreciate — safety.

“Even if I am going out for a short ride, I always have all my gear,” he said, “and I never go out without a helmet.”

Baumgartner told the assembled group the keys to success are, dream big, never give up, always be nice and have fun.

Nick Baumgartner embodies those qualities.

Baumgartner promised the group of kindergarten to fourth-graders that if he wins a gold medal Feb. 15, he would bring it to each of their classrooms so they could see it.

But he’s already struck gold for these kids by showing them that hard work and determination can help make dreams come true.

For that, we thank Nick Baumgartner and wish him the best of luck as he continues to chase his golden dream.

Mining Journal (Marquette)