WINTER VINECKI is an ambitious 14-year-old athlete who has been making waves in the sport of triathlon. Racing since the age of five, her competitive spirit has compelled her to be the best. By the age of nine, she found herself competing in an Olympic Distance triathlon; a distance usually reserved for seasoned adult triathletes. Winter initially had thoughts of racing as a means of bringing light to the growing epidemic of childhood obesity. This all changed in 2008, when after a series of medical tests, her dad, Michael, was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of prostate cancer. The grim prognosis was met not only with sadness, but also with determination. Winter vowed to do everything in her power to put an end to prostate cancer and help find a cure so that other families wouldn’t have to endure the personal hardships that hers were going through. To honor her dad and race for her true cause, Winter founded the 501(c)3 non-profit Team Winter, a vessel for funding prostate cancer research and raising prostate cancer awareness on a global scale.
Since the passing of her dad in 2009, Winter’s determination has only grown. While maintaining a nearly perfect 4.0 GPA in Stanford University’s prestigious online High School, EPGY, she travels almost every weekend to races in which she, her three brothers and her mom, Dr. Dawn Estelle, spread the word about Team Winter and prostate cancer awareness. She runs a Team Winter booth at various expos and takes on speaking engagements at schools with “Winter’s Inspirational Talk Series,” all the while racing each race with unrivaled passion. Winter is also a two-time IronKids National Triathlon Champion. Each first place trophy she receives is sent to a person affected by prostate cancer as a means of support and a gesture of goodwill. While most kids cherish their trophies, she cherishes the people she gives them to. Today, the growth of Winter as a triathlete and Team Winter as an organization is exponential. But for Winter, it’s not about the attention. It’s about bringing vindication to her dad, who was given a death sentence in the form of prostate cancer — a disease that affects one in six men. She strives every day, sacrificing playtime and other luxuries kids her age take for granted, to ensure that she is doing all she can to bring an end to this tragic and all-too-common disease.
And if that wasn’t enough, Winter is the newest and youngest member to the the Olympic Development team for Aerial skiing, Fly Elite. She lives with a host family and trains year round at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City, UT. She is an Olympic hopeful for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS & CREDENTIALS
- Eugene Marathon PR 3:45:04
- Two-time IronKids National Triathlon Champion
- Fourth year as IronKids Ambassador
- 2011 Annika Inspiration Award Recipient
- Newest and Youngest Member to 2012 Olympic Aerial Development Team – Fly Elite
- 2008 WebMd Health Hero
- Humboldt Redwoods Marathon 5k & ½ marathon age-group course records
- Sponsored by Newton Running, TYR and Louis Garneau
- Become the youngest person in the world to run a marathon on all seven continents before turning 15 as a means to bring global awareness to prostate cancer. With North America and Africa completed, Winter will travel to Antarctica, Peru, Mongolia, New Zealand and Greece before the end of 2013
- Qualify for Xterra Worlds in Maui
- Qualify a double in aerial skiing
- Get more blue prostate cancer ribbons on products
- Make an impact on childhood obesity
Photo Credit: John Conroy