Paralympian prepares to take the gold in Sochi

By KBJR News 1

February 21, 2014 Updated Feb 21, 2014 at 10:44 PM CST

Hayward, Wis. (NNCNOW.com) -- Augusto Perez, also known as "Goose," is relatively new to Nordic skiing. However, this will not be his first time representing red, white, and blue at the Olympics.

"It's an honor to be able to represent the U.S. again," said Perez. "I was lucky enough to do it in Torino and Vancouver for winter calling and to be able to do it now in Nordic Ski and Biathlon while fighting stage four cancer is pretty good."

Goose has been battling soft tissue sarcoma since 2000. He had one of his legs removed in 2003, but he is not letting the disease slow him down.

He took up paralympic sports to focus his energy on something other than the cancer. Goose will be doing the Kortelopet, a 23K race, at the Birkie on Saturday. After that race, he will head to Sochi to represent Team USA in para-Nordic Skiing and Biathlon.

"I wanted to do the Birkie this year, but the coaches advised against it because I'm leaving for Russia after the Birkie race. It's a big load on the shoulders to do a 50K," said Perez.

To prepare for his races, he took part in a little friendly competition, giving others a chance to sit in his skis.

"When you are skiing, a lot of times you are using your whole body to create momentum and now you are totally up to just your arms," said Ben Popp, executive director of the Birkie Foundation. "So about half way through my arms were no longer working."

As for Goose, he is working every day to keep the cancer at bay and go for the gold.

"Two weeks ago I went through my checkups and I'm still in remission, so that's a good thing. I'm ready to go to Sochi," he said.

He leaves for the Paralympics next week.

To follow Goose's progress and help him with medical expenses, check out his gofundme page.

The Birkiebeiner race kicks off at 8 a.m. on Saturday at Telemark Lodge in Cable, WI.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.
kanderson@kbjr.com