Student Profile - Tim Nelson
Down But Not Out
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NEIRAD enilno edition
You may see him walking down the halls here at Darien High School in his brown and white striped hoodie, with one arm in one sleeve and the other oddly hanging out, and think to yourself, “Oh he seems like a normal kid.” And in some ways, that’s true about Tim Nelson, a senior here at DHS: he comes to school most every day; goes to all his classes; studies hard; but the average traits of Tim stop there. A deeper look into the man that is Tim Nelson reveals a daredevil who defies the very laws of gravity on a weekly basis: an active participant in DHS extracurricular activities; an athlete who puts himself through unimaginable stresses over miles of terrain; an extraordinary individual who seeks to succeed at the highest level both in and out of the classroom. Welcome to the world of Tim Nelson.
Born in Greenwich on June 19th, 1990 to Peter and Debbie Nelson, Tim did not have to wait long to discover his favorite thing to do: ski. By the time he was three years old, Tim was hitting the slopes, developing the basic techniques that his future sport, dual moguls, would require. Ever since then life has been all downhill. Literally.
“A dual mogul is a race between two skiers in freestyle skiing. The race combines moguls and aerials in a competition to see who can get down the mountain the fastest and with the best tricks,” Tim explains. “It’s a hard sport that requires a lot of hard work and practice.”
The moguls, which Tim especially enjoys, are a series of bumps on a ski slope that have been constructed down a course that skiers must maneuver around as they descend to the bottom of the mountain. This athletic feat is a lot easier said than done, Tim says, and the addition of the aerial jumps and another competing skier racing against the clock doesn’t make it any easier.
In Tim’s area of freestyle skiing expertise, the tedious moguls are combined with a series of jumps that propel Tim and his competitor up to 40 feet in the air, where they are then required to perform a series of tricks and whoever has the best score in the fastest time wins. This sport is not just another hobby for Tim.
“Every weekend, I travel up [usually] to Vermont with my family where I practice skiing,” Tim says. It’s hard work and dedication on the slopes that have helped propel this fine athlete as far as the Junior Freestyle Skiing Olympics.
“Last year I qualified for the Junior Olympics where I didn’t do as well as I had hoped, but none the less, I had a great time enjoying the experience and hope to go back this year,” Tim says.
However, Tim’s chances have been compromised as a result of breaking his arm in mid-January while he was shredding the slopes at Stratton Mountain Ski Resort in Vermont.
“I was practicing some freestyle skiing when I came across a rail that looked fun to do trick on,” Tim then describes his tragic encounter with Mother Nature. “I was sliding down the rail and I decided to try a different trick that I’ve never really done before. I ended up falling off of the rail awkwardly and landing on my arm first with all my weight on top of it.”
Tim was able to ski down the mountain before having the injury checked out by Stratton medical staff: a true sign of Tim’s tenacity on the slopes.
“It’s a real bummer because I was starting to see a lot of improvement from last year in my skiing,” Tim said. “I had just got my back flip down, so hopefully when I get into a smaller cast and hit the slopes again, I won’t lose much of the progress I’ve made.”
Tim will have about a week of solid skiing left to qualify for the Junior Olympics next month, but he hopes to get a medical exemption for freestyle skiing. Tim explains that because he qualified last year, he has the opportunity to show to Junior Olympic committee that he qualified the previous year and is able to compete at the same level again in 2008. The Junior Olympics will be held in Anchorage, Alaska on March 9-15.
Scott Nelson, Tim’s brother, is also very skilled in freestyle skiing and is usually with Tim when he is skiing.
“He goes to boarding school at Holderness (School in Plymouth, New Hampshire) which provides him with a great opportunity to ski six days out of the week.” Tim goes on to say, “He’s always had more of a natural ability at skiing than I have, but that doesn’t mean I can’t show him up on a jump every now and then.” Tim had the same opportunity to attend Holderness, but he decided that it was better to stay here at Darien to finish his junior and senior years with the Blue Wave.
The mountain isn’t the only place where Tim pursues athletics; he is also a very experienced and important runner to the DHS Cross Country and Track teams.
“When I came to high school, I always loved playing sports, but I felt as though I wasn’t coordinated enough to keep playing them, so I decided to give cross country a shot,” Tim said.
And it was certainly a good decision. Tim has been ranked in the top seven on the cross country team since his sophomore year and was voted captain of the team for his senior year. Tim led the Blue Wave to two runner-up finishes at FCIACs and Class MM State Championships. During the winter, because of his skiing commitment, Tim does not participate in Indoor Track, but he returns to the oval come spring to assume a leading runner position on the Outdoor Track team.
“Tim's a really hard worker who gives 100 percent every day,” track captain Logan Hohs says of his talented teammate. “He’s an awesome kid to have on the team.”
Aside from athletics, Tim is an excellent student here at DHS. Although he was deferred early decision from Brown University, Tim hopes to be accepted this time around to Brown, Dartmouth, Williams, John Hopkins, Hamilton Tufts, or Georgetown.
In the DHS community, Tim is also an active participant in afterschool clubs. The newly developed Student Political Action Committee (SPAC) is a group Tim has been a part of since its inception this year.
“I didn’t really create the club,” Tim says, “But I helped set up the foundation for the organization from Day 1.” Tim plans on majoring in political science, and being an active member of SPAC is helping to prepare Tim to follow his ambitions after graduation. Tim also enjoys being an active member of the Free Thinkers Club, where he and his fellow free thinkers discuss cultural, political, artistic, and various other issues in modern society.
Not only is he an outstanding athlete and student, but he’s also an all around great person to chill with.
“Tim is a funny kid,” friend Nick Phillips, a fellow DHS classmate, explains. “Whenever you’re hanging out with him he’ll always slip in a joke that makes everyone laugh.”
Tim may be certain about his professional political aspirations post DHS, but as far as sports, he is undecided about his athletic career.
“If I go to a school like Tufts or Hamilton, I may run track there,” explains Tim, “But no matter where I go I’ll always still ski for fun. Maybe I’ll even sneak in a competition here or there.”
The true character that Tim has can never be described in words on a page, but only though his actions as a kind and funny guy. His actions speak louder than any words can about the genuine and down to earth guy that Tim really is. Although he may risk his life on a weekly basis by being suspended 40 plus feet in the air with nothing but a pair of skis, Tim is very cool kid who is a great friend to have and awesome person to know.