Stephani Victor, spokesperson for the Chaffin Luhana Foundation and Paralympic downhill skier, is headed for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. This year, NBC will be offering an unprecedented 52 hours of coverage of the events, allowing viewers to follow these impressive athletes.
A traumatic accident robbed her of both legs, but Stephani fought back, winning five medals in the last three Paralympic Winter Games, including a gold medal and two silver medals in 2010 in Vancouver. Now she’s looking forward to the 2014 games in Russia.
A Freak Accident Changes Her Life
Stephani’s story has been featured on ABC’s 20/20, The View, The Life, The Best Damned Sports Show Period and E! News. She was only 26 years old and chasing her dream of being a filmmaker when she ended up crushed between two vehicles in a freak accident that resulted in double amputation. Instead of giving up, she decided she would make a documentary about her recovery. Three years later, she took her first adaptive skiing lesson with instructor Marcel Kuonen, and she was hooked.
“At that first lesson,” she told TeamUSA, “Marcel was telling me this and that and I just took off and then I crashed. Everything was strewn like a yard sale. So I unbuckled the belt and went to stand up. I forgot I didn’t have legs. It was like the sea parting. Skiing gave me the freedom to be involved in the nature and the snow and going fast and executing turns, and I said, ‘I want to do this the rest of my life.’”
Staging a Comeback after Two Years
NBC and NBCSN will provide 52 hours of coverage of the Paralympics this year, including 27 hours of live coverage, starting March 7 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time (NBCSN). The coverage will include alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, wheelchair curling, biathlon, and sled hockey. NBC promises fans will see more of these Paralympic Winter Games than ever before, featuring nearly 700 athletes with physical disabilities. A total of 77 of those athletes are from the U.S.
Though injuries kept her out of action in 2011 and 2012, Stephani has already taken fourth in giant slalom and second in super-G at the World Cup competition in Copper Mountain. Prior to that, she took first in slalom at the World Cup Coronet Peak, first super-G at World Cup Mt. Hutt, and first giant slalom and slalom at World Cup Thredbo, 2013. She just turned 44 years old last August, and enjoys having defied expectations about her ability to make a comeback.
“People said that at (my age) you’re never going to make a comeback,” she says. “My feeling is, as long as I’m ranged in the top three in the world, I have a right to keep going.”
Spokesperson Serves as Inspiration to Others
A former client of Chaffin Luhana, Stephani remains close friends with partners Eric and Roopal, and was pleased to join their work at the Chaffin Luhana Foundation. A highly sought-after motivational speaker, she serves as spokesperson for the foundation, and as inspiration for the Stephani Victor Legacy Award. (The foundation presents it each year to one deserving individual who has overcome significant challenges and achieved great milestones in his or her life or career.)
“I just want to let people know that when you work hard, listen to your heart, and have faith,” she says, “and you allow yourself to make mistakes, but you get up and do it again-you can make your dreams come true.”
Exclusively focused on representing plaintiffs, especially in mass tort litigation, Eric Chaffin prides himself on providing unsurpassed professional legal services in pursuit of the specific goals of his clients and their families. Both his work and his cases have been featured in the national press, including on ABC’s Good Morning America.