Skier looks to make history, as the Philippines’ potential first female Winter Olympian
Earlier this month, three Philippine women took home gold at the SEA Games, and whil international ski season is about to kick off, there’s one Bay Area-based Filipino teenager who has her eye on Olympic gold.
15-year-old Ana Reynado Wahleitner of Danville, CA is off to the slopes.
She’s a student at Sugar Bowl Ski Academy, hoping to represent the Philippines as a skier.
Wahleitner discovered the sport at age 7, after spending time with her father’s side in Tahoe. She’s now spent more than half her life racing through the snow.
“There’s a lot of things I enjoy about skiing, like going out there really early in the morning and taking a look at everything, and then there’s going down the mountain and feeling the wind hit your face a lot, and when it comes to racing you’re at the start gate, and you’re looking right down at the course I usually think to myself at the start gate wow this is amazing.”
She specializes in the Giant Slalom and Slalom, and made her international debut last month in New Zealand.
Wahleitnner, whose mother hails from Davao, is one of the newest members in the Philippine Ski Federation, which has been scouring the world for Filipino athletes in snow countries.
Starting this winter, she’ll be racing trying to qualify for next year’s junior world championships.
“I think representing the Philippines would be a huge honor and I have that ability, so I’m taking it.”
In the Philippine history of Olympics games, none of the 6 athletes were women — a mold that Wahleitner hopes to break.
“As a female athlete I think it shows, yes, there are women and girls that are Filipino that can do winter sports too. It’s a pretty big honor to be maybe even the first Filipino athlete at the Olympics, that is a female.”
As the incoming high school senior carries on with her Olympic journey, she’s also bringing the community with her, recently joining San Francisco’s Pistahan parade, and launching a Gofundme page for fellow Filipinos to help support her medal chase.