By Isabella Paredes
Social Media & Voices Editor
Sarah Escobar ’25 has recently accomplished a lot of firsts in her career as an alpine skier. She is Ecuador’s first female Winter Olympian, its first alpine skier, and the first Purple Knight to compete in the Winter Olympics as an active student-athlete at St. Michael’s College.
Escobar was born in the U.S, and she is representing Ecuador, her parent’s home country. Escobar is the only athlete representing Ecuador in this year’s Winter Olympics.
“I am the first woman to compete in the Winter Olympics and I am very excited and proud to represent Ecuadorian women my age, and my country,” said Escobar in an interview with the Ecuadorian Olympic Committee (COE).
Escobar began skiing at three years old. Her journey began in Stowe. She competed for four years on the International Ski Federation (FIS) circuit. In 2020, she competed at the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Switzerland. She qualified for the World Championship in Belgium, and Junior World Championship in Norway.
Escobar attended Sparta High School in her home state of New Jersey and then continued at Waterville Valley Academy in New Hampshire. She is currently a student-athlete at St. Michael’s. The 20-year-old student-athlete is a Psychology major.
Back in 2018, Klaus Jungbluth became the first athlete to represent Ecuador in the Winter Olympics. In 2020, Escobar was Ecuador’s first female flag bearer at the Winter Youth Olympics in Switzerland.
Escobar competed in the Women’s Giant Slalom at the Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Center on Feb. 7. Escobar placed 60th in the first round but was unable to complete the second.
Escobar hopes her journey can show women in Ecuador that it is possible to achieve their dreams, she said in a story by NECN. During the Opening Ceremony on Friday, Feb. 4, Escobar proudly carried Ecuador’s flag.
Escobar is joined at the Olympic Games by her father, Fabian Escobar, St. Michael’s Alpine Skiing Assistant Coach Nick Stagers, Ecuadorian Olympic Committee President Jorge Delgado Panchanca, a nutritionist and a doctor.
Stagers, her coach, described her character as thoughtful and honest.
“As an athlete, Sarah has been fun to coach on the hill. She is willing and able to listen to feedback and quickly incorporate it into her skiing,” he said. Stagers said he has witnessed growth in Escobar’s skiing while in China.
Beatriz Almeida de Stein, Consul General of Ecuador in Boston, said she is very proud of Escobar and her representing Ecuador in the Olympics. “As you know, we don’t have winter sports in Ecuador, so this for us is so special for the whole country that she is going to be there representing our country, our government in this Olympics,” she said to NECN.
Escobar is one of the few Purple Knights to make it to the Olympics. In 2002, Tricia Byrnes ’96 represented the U.S. at the Winter Games as a snowboarder. However, she was not a student-athlete. Larry Suter ’69 coached sailors at the 1996 and 2004 Summer Games. In 2014, Alex Mohbat ’18, also an alpine skier, represented Lebanon in the Winter Games in Russia. This was before his arrival at St.Michael’s, according to a story from SMC Athletics.
“When I am at the start of the race, I can feel all the adrenaline, I love the speed,” Escobar said in a story to ESPN Ecuador.
“As a coach for St. Michael’s, and for this adventure coaching for Ecuador it is exciting to be able to present Sarah on the world stage as a member of both communities,” Stagers said.
Escobar’s achievment is leaving a big impact on St. Michael’s. President Lorraine Sterritt expressed her thoughts about Escobar. “I am beyond proud of Sarah. She is a superb skier, and her accomplishments are internationally recognized. We are thrilled and honored that a Saint Michael’s student competed in the Olympics,” she said. Chris Kenny, Director of Athletics, believes Sarah’s achievement is of great importance to St. Michaels. “As a college community (including our alumni), we have immense pride in Sarah and how she has represented us (…) Sarah made history, and is an inspiration!” he said.