Winter Vinecki Knows No Limits

Not much intimidates Winter Vinecki. As the 23-year-old prepares for the start of her first Olympics, she’s already seen more life than most people twice her age: At age nine, she lost her father to prostate cancer; at 13, she moved away from home to start training in aerial skiing; at 14, she became the youngest person to run a marathon on all seven continents. A word of advice? Don’t underestimate her.

“It all started back when I was nine years old,” she says over Zoom. That was the year she signed up for her first Olympic distance triathlon, which comprises a 1.5 kilometer swim, a 40 kilometer bike ride, and a 10 kilometer run in rapid succession. Vinecki had gotten her first taste of competition a few years earlier while tagging along with her mom, Dawn Estelle, as she competed in triathlons. “We’d go as a family to watch her race so we’d take our R.V., load my three brothers, myself, my dad, and I to go watch my mom,” she says. One event in Canada offered a kids’ race, she recalls. “We were like, ‘Well, shoot, let’s do it.’” Wiinter, gangly and full of energy, walked up to the starting line wearing water wings. “I saw no other kids had their water wings on so we had to rip mine off,” she says, laughing. It was instant love.


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