REBECCA DUSSAULT: OLYMPIC SKIER
But Wife, Mother and Catholic First!
Rebecca Dussault was born in 1980 in Denver and is now a resident of Gunnison, Colorado. She is the Eight Time U.S. National Cross Country Ski Champion and Top Ranked U.S. Women’s Nordic Skier. She is representing our Nation at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.
Rebecca is enthusiastic about her skiing, but more importantly she is passionate about her faith and family. As she says: “my truest love of all, [is] the Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Catholic Church. My faith is the most important thing in my life.”
During the 1990’s she was recognized as one of our Country’s most promising Cross Country Skiers. In 1999, the then Rebecca Quinn married her high school sweetheart Sharbel Dussault. Shortly thereafter, seemingly on the edge of skiing greatness, she decided to retire from the sport to dedicate herself to her family. In 2002, she gave birth to a son they named Tabor.
At the end of the Winter Season of 2003 Rebecca entered some local races and did well. “After winning a few races,” she said, “my husband and I prayed about me getting back into skiing at an elite level. We came to the conclusion that now is the time.”
Reflecting back on her retirement, and subsequent return to competition, she said: “I felt like the Lord wanted me to give everything to Him. I had no idea He was going to give it back to me. It’s been a hundredfold. It’s been so much better than I ever thought it could be.”
The life of a top athlete can be very demanding. Fortunately, she has the full support of her husband. Providence has also provided that Sharbel and their son Tabor can accompany her on tour. One touching example of the joy of having them with her was recently related by Dussault: “After every race he [her son] asks me, ‘Momma, did you win?’ Today I could finally tell him, ‘Momma won!’ and he started to cry he was so happy. Having him involved makes such a difference.”
One might wonder how it is possible that this young lady can fulfill all these roles. Rebecca simply says, “It is all a matter of God’s graces helping me…accomplish all of my goals.” Or, in the words of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (1901-1925) her Patron Saint for the Olympic Games: “The faith given to me in Baptism suggests to me surely: by yourself you will do nothing, but if you have God as the center of all your action, then you will reach the goal.”
While in Turin Rebecca may well feel at home during the Olympics. She and her family traveled there on Pilgrimage in 2005 before going onto World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany. Turin is the hometown of her heavenly friend Pier Giorgio as well! To honor Frassati she will have his name written on her skis along with the Sign of the Cross with which she always marks them. Rebecca’s favorite quote of his: “To live without faith, without a patrimony to defend, without a steady struggle for truth, that is not living, but existing.”
What are Rebecca’s future plans? She recently said, “I know that I would have to compete for a decade or more to really see what I could be. I guess family is just way too important to me. I want to have more kids, and be there for them. Somebody has to be around to teach them how to ski fast.” Knowing Rebecca, she may well be back for the 2010 Olympics and have a bunch of children who ski very fast!
She lists her goals on her website <www.dussaultskis.com>. On the top of that list she expresses the desire to “live heroic virtue and become a saint.” To realize this goal she holds fast to Jesus, especially as He gives Himself to us in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Rebecca also stays close to Mary, the Holy Mother of God. She draws inspiration from the witness of the Saints, and grounds herself in the Sacred Scriptures and teaching of the Church.
Rebecca offers these words of advice to aspiring athletes: “Keep your priorities in line. Sports have a place in the bigger picture of your life. They are not everything.”
Rebecca Dussualt has found her “everything” in the Lord Jesus Christ, “the lover of her soul and secret hiding place.” She expresses the love she has found through devotion to her family, her friends, and yes, using her God given gifts, the pursuit of excellence as a Cross Country Skier.
<>“Love God! Live Family! Train Well! Race Fast!” – Rebecca Dussault
Written by Rev. Fr. William J. Kuchinsky, Romney, WV
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