As a kid, Nick Goepper sold candy bars, babysat and mowed lawns in order to pay for ski passes to a nearby resort. He built features with a mixture of snow and Astroturf in his backyard so he could practice. And, he’s one of eight 2014 Olympians who were homeschooled in order to pursue their athletic passions.

Now, he has a bronze medal to show for all of his dedication. Nick was part of the United States men’s freestyle skiing slopestyle team that dominated their event last week in Sochi.

As it turns out, his family and educational pursuits played a big role in making that happen.

In order to advance in his sport and his education, Nick earned a scholarship to Windell’s Academy, an action sports school in Mt. Hood, OR that offers online courses through a partnership with Keystone National High School. The online courses and flexible scheduled allowed for the rigorous training required of aspiring Olympians.

And those Astroturf features in his backyard? It was his mom, Linda Goepper’s numerous runs to Home Depot that made them possible.

“Nick would get these big plans in his head and normally they were okay,” Linda said with a laugh. “But I was really busy; I had three other kids and trying to accommodate all his little projects, sometimes it was just a little over the top. There were other things I wanted to do besides run. So I’d get irritated about it.”

As for Nick’s memories, he’s thankful that she always gave him the option to get a ski pass or an Xbox when he was younger. He chose the ski pass.

But even though skiing was a priority, so was school. And it still is. Nick plans to continue his education at Westminster University in Utah on academic scholarship. He’s certainly a stellar role model for homeschooled students with big dreams, whether on the slopes or elsewhere. Read about all the different ways students are going for their own gold. Then, enter our contest and tell us your story.

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