Carrying on! Olympic freestyle skier Torin-Yater Wallace opened up about his upcoming documentary, Back to Life, which details his comeback after a near-death experience.
“I am doing OK now. It’s a big year and I am just happy to be able to compete and ski the best I can,” the 22-year-old athlete, who was diagnosed with a life-threatening infection in his liver and gall bladder in November 2015, exclusively told Us Weekly. “I love to ski and that is all I want to do!”
The athlete noted that he was fully focused on healing during his hospital visit and did not focus on the future of his career. “[Training] was the least of my concerns, I really had no idea what was going to happen and was just hoping to make it out of the hospital,” he said. “I was under paralysis when it was the worst, so not sure really what I was thinking at that time. It was like being in a coma.”
Yater-Wallace — who is competing at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, next month — also gushed over his girlfriend, ski jumper Sarah Hendrickson, who helped him through the difficult time. “She was the best. Could not have asked for a better support system,” he said of the world champion, who he has been dating for more than two years. “She was by my side the whole time.”
As for what his future holds? “I don’t think about what it’s like to win. I want to ski the best I can first and foremost,” he explained. “After what happened four years ago, I just want to perform my best and hope for a better outcome.”
As previously reported, the Colorado native received a personal shout-out from his celebrity crush Taylor Swift while competing in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. “Hey, it’s Taylor! I Just wanted to say good luck to everybody going to Sochi,” the “End Game” songstress said at the time in an Entertainment Tonight video. “I wanted to wish all the winter athletes good luck, and Torin — thanks for listening to my music while you practice. That’s amazing.”
Yater-Wallace reacted to the cute moment during an exclusive interview with Us Weekly right after, saying that if he ever had the chance to take Swift out on a date, they would “go to the Hickory House in Aspen and get some barbecue ribs and maybe go hot tubbing at the Ritz Carlton. And then she can come over and we can see what happens after that.”
He later thanked the Grammy winner “for telling me good luck,” adding that she is “one of the most beautiful people to walk on this planet.”
Back to Life airs on ABC on Saturday, January 13. It will also be available for streaming online on Sunday, January 14, on Red Bull TV.
To learn more, visit teamusa.org. The Winter Olympics will air live, starting February 8.