• by Karen Cummings

NH Olympians -- Abbi Fisher '76, '80

It was a natural thing for all the Fisher children: they grew up skiing and one of them just happened to end up going to the Olympics. "I never had the goal of being on the Olympic team," said two-time Olympian and South Conway native, Abbi Fisher. "I never really thought about it until I did it."

Abbi was on the U.S. Ski Team for nine years, from 1974 until her retirement last year. She skied in both the 1976 Olympics in Innsbruck and the most recent games in Lake Placid. "The Lake Placid games were a lot more fun," said Abbi. "I got to meet more of the competitors--Beth Heiden and a lot of the hockey players--and see more competition." Abbi's real thrill at the 1980 Games was seeing the "Cinderella" American hockey team win its gold medal.

Abbi's skiing results were not the highlight of the games for her because both of the Olympics in which she competed came at particularly low points in her career. She was not expected to do well in 1976 because of an injured knee, and fell in the slalom. Due to the injury, she did not compete in either the giant slalom or downhill. In 1980, she was just returning from two knee operations and was recognized by her coaches, the public, and the news media for her great determination to come back and compete. "The biggest disappointment for me in the Olympics," said Abbi, "was not being healthy."

For Abbi, winner of the 1978 World Cup slalom at Piancavallo, Italy, the Olympics competition didn't differ much from the World Cup races. "There was a little more pressure," she explained. "Some people really gear up just for the Olympics, but there are actually fewer competitors in it because each country can only send four racers to each event."

Since her retirement, Abbi has chosen to pursue other sports interests. This consummate athlete who also enjoys mountain and rock climbing, cross-country skiing, kayaking, and playing tennis, has recently taken up ice hockey.

"She has come to it rather late in life," said her father, Bob, "but it's her current passion." Living this winter in Sun Valley, Idaho, where she is a ski coach for 10- to 14-year-olds, Abbi plays amateur hockey for the Sunsets, a women's team. "My knees are fine now," she said, "and I started skating for the fun of it last year and now I love it."

Although Abbi enjoys her coaching job and her current activities, she still misses some aspects of the competitive skiing life. "So far I don't miss the competition, but I do miss the people. I definitely don't miss the traveling," she said. "Skiing, racing, traveling--it certainly was a completely different lifestyle."

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