The Untold Truth Of Olympic Medalist Nick Goepper

Indiana native Nick Goepper is a freestyle skier who has won big since joining the Olympic Freeski team in 2015 (via U.S. Ski & Snowboard). At the root of it all, however, he is just a Midwestern boy. According to Team USA, Goepper was born in 1994 and grew up in Lawrenceburg with his three siblings. He began skiing at the age of 5 and competing at age 11. Only a few years later, a teenage Goepper would move to Oregon to train and try his hand at a professional career (per Red Bull).

Needless to say, it worked out for him, as he is now considered "one of the top American slopestyle" and "halfpipe skiers." Not bad considering Goepper grew up using artificial grass to do jumps in his backyard. By the winter of 2010, he was "onto the pro-level freeskiing contest circuit." Volkl reports that he would continue to make his presence known during the 2011-2012 season, and this was just the beginning.

Nick Goepper's big wins

According to Red Bull, Nick Goepper's freestyle skiing career took off when he won the Dumont Cup in 2011. By 2012, he would win a silver medal at the Winter X Games. In 2013, Goepper received a Breakthrough Athlete of the Year award and a gold medal when he returned to the Winter X games. The year after, Volkl writes that he would receive his first Olympic bronze medal in Sochi. Coming off another X Games win in 2015, WLWT5 reports that Goepper announced on Twitter that he had dislocated and broken his shoulder.

Though he would ultimately be forced to take off the rest of the 2015 and 2016 season, he would return to the X Games in 2017. Per IndyStar, 2018 would be a big year for Goepper as he would win a silver medal at the Winter Olympics. He later said he was "super proud" of himself and was "looking forward to Beijing in 2022." Goepper also opened up about his previous battle with depression that had him almost give up on his skiing career.

Nick Goepper's struggle with depression

IndyStar writes that after he won his first Olympic medal in 2014, Nick Goepper "didn't know how to handle the fame and expectations" of being an Olympian. He received a flurry of attention, went on TV, and was a part of several social media campaigns (via USA Today). When the chaos slowed down, Goepper didn't know what to do with himself. Ultimately, he became depressed and began to drink as he pondered the future of his career. He also contemplated suicide and said he "wanted to end it."

Per another article from IndyStar, Goepper would also get in small legal trouble for confessing to throwing rocks at cars during an anxiety attack. His parents later urged him to go to rehab, and Us Weekly reports that he would spend two months there. Goepper has reportedly been sober since September 2015 and has said that he is "so grateful for everything." He attributed his parents and his then-girlfriend, Lizzy Braun, for helping him overcome his mental health struggles.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Training for the 2022 Winter Olympics

In 2021, Nick Goepper won his fourth gold medal at the X Games in Aspen (via The Aspen Times). He stated that he felt "incredible" and validated for representing the "over-25 crowd" (Goepper was 26 at the time). Later that year, Goepper began to train in Park City for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing (per WTHR). In his backyard, he set up a ski ramp and trampoline to make training less of a chore and more "light and fun."

According to Team USA, Goepper is still as disciplined as ever. He stated he had to "remove distractions" to continue his training, and said that the COVID-19 pandemic ultimately worked "well" for his lifestyle. Goepper also mentioned his first Olympics made him incredibly overwhelmed, but by his second time around, it felt less daunting. Although he has won both a bronze and silver medal in 2014 and 2018, respectively, Goepper hopes to one day go gold.

Nick Goepper the motivational speaker

Nick Goepper is not just a renegade skier, the two-time Olympian is also a motivational speaker (via AAE Speakers). In 2018, The Aspen Times reported that he spoke to students at a Colorado high school about his battle with depression and drinking. Goepper was fresh off his Olympic win and had recently revealed his mental health struggles. He also recounted a story about selling candy bars as a child to earn enough money for a ski pass. He later said that he "never thought" he would speak to high schoolers, but that it was a "great feeling."

In 2019, Goepper gave the commencement speech at Wy'East Mountain Academy, his former school (per Wy'East Mountain Academy). Looking to hire him for an event? His speaking fees range from $10,000 to $20,000. According to the U.S. Ski & Snowboard, his other hobbies include skating, snowmobiling, reading, and visiting museums. Per IndyStar, he picked up reading while on his journey to sobriety.

Nick Goepper recreated a nearly 100-year-old jump

In 2020, Red Bull Content Pool writes that Goepper teamed up with sports photographer Jiří Šimeček to "pay tribute to the pioneers of ski acrobatics." Šimeček stumbled upon a 1929 photo of a man named Otto Berauer and was more than impressed. In the photo, he is jumping off the roof of the Luční bouda hotel in the Czech Republic. Wearing wooden skis, he managed to jump over 18 meters (or 59 feet).

According to Red Bull, the hotel was once a "destination for adventurers." Thus, Šimeček sought to recreate the photo but was concerned that the hotel would bar him from doing so. Luckily, they were "extremely enthusiastic" about the prospect. Šimeček sought Goepper as he was already in the Czech Republic for a competition. He photographed Goepper with a digital camera and a vintage camera from the 1930s doing the same jump. When shown the photos, he was "bouncing off the walls." Goepper later told NBC Olympics that he puts himself on "autopilot" to do his jumps and tricks.