Freshman part of first Jordanian ski team

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    Someone once said skiing is a dance and the mountain always leads. Not for Khaled Badr-El-Din.After competing in the sixth Asian Winter Games, he has strutted his stuff on an international stage under his own leadership.

    Between playing polo, flying planes, skiing, traveling, volunteering, leading and studying, freshman Khaled Badr-El-DinBadr-El-Din has already achieved more than the average 30- year-old. The difference?

    He is only a freshman in college. The eldest of four children, Khaled Badr-El-Din said he was given many opportunities as a child to challenge himself.

    “When I look back at the journeys I have undertaken, it is clear I have been blessed with a great upbringing,” Khaled Badr-El-Din said.

    Khaled Badr-El-Din, an entrepreneurial management major, said he was born in Jordan but didn’t spend much time there before his family hit the road to begin a cross-continental lifestyle.

    Khaled Badr-El-Din’s father, Amin Badr-El-Din, said his son has never been a show-off because he is the type of person who sits and watches for hours before jumping in.

    “He has always been a very flexible, easy-go-lucky boy,” Amin Badr-El-Din said of his son.

    Amin Badr-El-Din said because he lives in Jordan, being so far away from his son is difficult, but he knew it was part of life.

    “He used to go away for months at a time for various competitions, so he’s an international child,” Khaled Badr-El-Din said.

    Khaled Badr-El-Din said it was those international relations that helped him find TCU.

    “I lived in New Mexico for four years, and I have friends who go here that are seniors now,” Khaled Badr-El-Din said. “I had the opportunity to visit and it just felt right.”

    Khaled Badr-El-Din said it was also his upbringing that pushed him to ski in the Asian Olympics.

    “We knew the Asian Olympics were coming up and we knew people on the Jordanian Committee,” Khaled Badr-El-Din said. “They don’t have winter sports in Jordan so we wanted to get something started.”

    According to the Olympic Council of Asia, 26 nations participated in the 2007 Asian Games. The Seventh Asian Games will take place in Almaty, Kazakhstan, in 2011.

    Amin Badr-El-Din said his son was skiing before he could walk.

    “I would strap skis to his legs and carry him so he thought he was skiing,” Amin Badr-El-Din said. “Gradually, I started putting more weight on the skis.”

    Khaled Badr-El-Din said he and his sister decided to set up the Jordanian ski team as a trial run for winter sports in Jordan. He said they had to set up an Olympic committee and qualify before competing.

    “We found out in December that we got accepted,” Khaled Badr-El-Din said. “We started training right after that.”

    After training in France, Khaled Badr-El-Din competed February in China, where he placed in the 30s out of about 50 competitors.

    Amin Badr-El-Din said he never imagined his son would compete at an Olympic level.

    “It’s kind of hard living in the Middle East so the thought never really crossed my mind,” Amin Badr-El-Din said.

    Khaled Badr-El-Din said he competed in the great slalom where he and his sister were the youngest competitors in their group.

    “The prime age for men is 25 and most people are 20 to 30,” Khaled Badr-El-Din said. “So that’s cool because I’m just getting into the right age group.”

    Khaled Badr-El-Din said the experience was great and the opportunity to meet people made it all the more exciting.

    As far as his future goes, Khaled Badr-El-Din said he is just focusing on college now, but will continue to ski for fun.

    “I don’t know,” Khaled Badr-El-Din said. “I’m in college now, I have to get my priorities straight.”

    In case he changes his mind, USA Ski team coach Scott Kennet said he would be happy to coach Khaled Badr-El-Din all the way to the Olympics.

    “I am willing to make a full commitment to seeing this dream come true,” Kennet said.

    In the meantime, Khaled Badr-El-Din said he joined TCU’s polo club and is looking forward to a year of having fun.

    “I love polo,” Khaled Badr-El-Din said. “If I had to choose between polo and skiing, I would choose polo.”

    Khaled Badr-El-Din was also one of 39 freshman accepted into the Frog Aides program.

    Amin Badr-El-Din said he has faith that his son will do amazing things at TCU.

    “It’s a great school and I think his experience living around the world and traveling so much will add to his experience,” Khaled Badr-El-Din said. “I’m sure he’ll help out a lot just because of everywhere he has been. My hope is that he not only pushes himself academically but he relaxes and understands the culture, as well.”

    Khaled Badr-El-Din said between the polo club, Frog Aides and school, one thing is for sure, he will never have a lack of excitement in his life.

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