Local media turned out for the announcement on Tuesday that Liberty University is sponsoring professional skier and Olympic hopeful Jay Panther.
Panther, 27, from Louisville, Ky., trained at the university’s Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre last fall. The centre is the only year-round ski slope of its kind in North America. Panther also spoke to more than 8,000 students at one of the university’s weekly Convocations and offered free lessons to students.
Panther has already had success since then. He won the 2012 World Cup starts at the U.S. Freestyle Selections Event in Steamboat Springs, Colo., on Dec. 19, 2011, which earned him the right to compete in the Freestyle World Cup moguls event Jan. 19-21 in Lake Placid, N.Y. His goal is to make the U.S. team for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia. He also hopes to become a summer Olympian in his other favorite sport, volleyball.
Panther told media on Tuesday that Liberty’s sponsorship makes perfect sense.
“It’s huge for me to have my values and Liberty’s values be in line; to be able to promote a Christian lifestyle, a Christian university, is an amazing opportunity for me.”
He said he will continue to train at Snowflex.
“I love it here. It’s awesome to have another place that I can call home, somewhere that I am able to come and be rejuvenated and feel totally comfortable. … The time I got to spend here this fall was phenomenal … getting to go to church, being a part of the small group and Bible studies, it just really fills the soul. Then you shoot me back out to share the love with the ski community. It’s awesome.”
As part of the sponsorship agreement, Panther will represent Liberty at World Cup events, as well as in his upcoming tour to churches, schools and businesses. He will provide coaching for Liberty’s ski team and general instruction at the Snowflex Centre.
An interview with Jay Panther will air at 7:30 p.m. tonight (Wednesday, Jan. 11) on Victory FM (88.3 FM in Lynchburg) and will also be available at victoryfm.net.
Media coverage of Panther's visit: