Fractions of a second matter when you’re speeding down a hill at 100+ miles per hour. There are dozens of variables to consider: the weather, race-course conditions, your mental space, and the physical demands of just making it safely to the bottom.
But Manny Osborne Paradis is an expert at managing these needs. As Canada’s first Alpine skier to win both a World Cup Downhill and World Cup Super G Race in 2009, this four-time Olympic Downhill Ski racer has three World Cup Championship titles and an impressively long list of career finishes.
This partially explains why there was so much to celebrate when Manny announced his retirement from skiing in the fall of 2020. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) threw a live, two-hour farewell party for him; hosting a Q and A with past competitors and teammates. I tuned in to hear some of the lively banter and stories, having met Manny at various sporting events.
There are common threads in Manny’s career successes that speak to the relationships he’s cultivated over the years of training and competing, as well as a larger-than-life joy in all that he does. It’s genuine and refreshing. And, above all, it speaks to the supportive love he has for others that goes beyond racing scorecards or podium victories. Quite frankly, Manny’s story is what we need to hear these days in this chaotic and confounding world we live in. Manny reminds us to live with great mindfulness and intention. Yes, it’s okay to be fiercely competitive and determined, but his success is tied to the gratitude and supportive friendships made along the journey.
I had a chance to sit down with Manny in Episode 24 of the WS Sipping on Stories (SOS) podcast, where I learned more about his inspirational journey and secrets of his joyful success. Manny shares career highs and lows and speaks to the grit it took to overcome some debilitating sports injuries, not to mention the perils of competing in the death-defying, world-renown Kitzbühel race in Austria.
Manny sipped on tequila as he talked about life in Invermere, British Columbia, the most western province in Canada that’s home to some of the most picturesque world-class mountain, and the family and friendships that continue to inspire him. He also shared thoughts about the world of skiing, what it’s like to race and the role of hard work, resilience, and community in life.
Going beyond this podcast, Manny’s social media feeds and snapshots of “friends” on his official website reinforce the values that have been a constant and cherished roadmap for Manny. The impressive list of financial sponsors who have helped Manny with financial, branding and networking support – companies like Mackenzie Investments, Head and Audi, speak to the village of support Manny had to train full-time and travel globally as a Canadian ambassador.
Manny sees these business relationships in the same way he does all things in life, including cherished fans, family, competitors, and teammates. Their personal. The Meet Manny section of his website entitled “Just call me Manny” is a testament to this truth. When asked about what the future holds for this larger-than-life, big-hearted, speedster, one thing is certain: Manny says it’s his turn to support his wife Lana in her business ventures and he’ll be spending a lot more time with family as he glides into the next adventure in this world of endless possibilities.