APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - The winter olympics are still months away, but a Kimberly man is hoping to represent Team USA in South Korea.
If the 2018 Winter Olympics were held today, 25-year old Paul Schommer from Kimberly would be representing the United States as one of the top five members of the U.S. Biathlon team. It's a long way from his struggles as a teenager at Kimberly high school.
According to Schommer, "In Kimberly, the sports that reign king were football, baseball, and basketball and I wasn't explosive. I didn't have fast twitch muscles and I didn't really feel like I ever had any potential to be much of an athlete especially after I was hospitalized with an eating disorder for a long time."
After overcoming his eating disorder, Schommer found success in cross country skiing. His college coach encouraged him to try biathlons which combines cross country skiing and rifle marksmanship.
A little more than three years after Schommer went to his first U.S. Training Camp in Lake Placid, NY, the Fox Cities native is so close to officially making the U.S. Olympic Team.
He says, "In the sport of biatholn things can change really fast and so that's a goal of mine. I think it's a realistic goal, but it's not something that's given. It's something I'm going to have to work towards and continue to perform to earn my spot."
Schommer says he'll spend between 25 and 30 hours a week training. He has several competitions between now and the end of January when the final team is named. And with so much support from home, including sponsorships from the JJ Keller Foundation along with Plexus and Rogers Memorial Hospital where he was treated for his eating disorder, schommer hopes to make Northeast Wisconsin proud.
"It's kind of cool to be able to represent the Fox Valley and kind of what they mean, that it's a place that people do believe and they are going to help out other people," adds Schommer.