Steamboat snowboard coaches Remmelink and Reiter travel to Beijing
In addition to 13 athletes, a pair of coaches will represent Steamboat Springs at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Thedo Remmelink, a Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club coach of 20 years, will be one of a couple people coaching Alpine snowboarders Robby Burns and Cody Winters. Both first-time Olympians trained at the SSWSC under Remmelink. Former SSWSC athlete and Olympian Justin Reiter is going to his second Olympics as a coach for two-time Olympic gold medalist Ester Ledecká, an Alpine snowboarder from the Czech Republic.
Both have impressive resumes and lean on successful athletic careers and a deep love of the sport when teaching others.
Remmelink represented the Netherlands in his first and only Olympic appearance, in 1998 in Nagano, Japan. He finished 10th, one of his proudest accomplishments along with winning eight World Cup events in his career.
The next spring, he retired and started coaching the Slovenian team, where he stayed for four years.
He was hired by the SSWSC in 2002 and has been there for two decades, winning the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association Snowboard Domestic Coach of the Year award in 2003. He’s had a hand in helping about a dozen snowboarders to the Olympics. Winters, who grew up in Steamboat, and Burns, who trained there for years, are only the latest in a long line of Remmelink-coached riders to make the games.
“He just has this almost magic gift of being able to watch someone snowboard and tell them just a few simple things that they need to fix, and instantly, the person is riding way better,” Winter said. “All we’re doing really, lefts and rights, but there’s so many different things that go into it, and Thedo can simplify those things into one thing that makes sense in your head, and it just works.”
That isn’t a coincidence or a random personality trait. Remmelink studied psychology while earning a business degree. He said he isn’t just interested in snowboard athletes but people and what motivates them.
“Thedo is very educated and talented in tapping into what a specific athlete needs,” Burns said. “It’s a day-to-day process that you can see if you spend time watching how he interacts with athletes, run to run, while athletes are training. That, combined with an infectious uncanny ability to connect with people.”
Reiter is the reason Remmelink came to Steamboat in the first place. Reiter advocated for the SSWSC to hire Remmelink.
Reiter moved to Steamboat from California when he was 18 and lived in the Yampa Valley through most of his career. He was coached by Remmelink for years, and the pair traveled to Sochi together for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Before that, Reiter and a few other Steamboat-linked riders, including Ledecká, Burns and Mike Trapp, formed an elite group of riders trained by Erich Pramsohler.
In the summer of 2017, Pramsohler was diagnosed with cancer. Reiter, who had already been pushing himself to continue competing, opted to retire and coach in Pramsohler’s place.
“For me, coaching, the technical aspect of the sport is something I really enjoy,” Reiter said. “The strategy of creating environments that can help athletes develop — I’m fortunate enough to work with one of the most talented athletes in the world. Overall, I enjoy watching athletes grow as individuals and as humans.”
Less than a year later, he coached Ledecká to a historic Olympic appearance. Ledecká stunned the world by winning gold in Super-G the week before and followed that with a gold-medal run in parallel giant slalom.
Ledecká is back to compete in both Alpine skiing and snowboarding in Beijing. Reiter and Remmelink know what they are doing, so, keep an eye on Ledecká, Burns and Winters in Beijing.
Shelby Reardon is the assistant editor at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach her, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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