Finnean McEeany is an aerial skier on the Park City Ski and Snowboard Development Team. He is a recipient of a 2018 Youth Sports Alliance (YSA) Scholarship funded through the generous support of the Sam Jackenthal Fund.
One thing I learned early on as an athlete is that to be truly good means you stand on the shoulders of the giants in sport who come before you. Another thing I have learned is that talent is only a tiny piece of getting on the podium: it takes patience, love, inspiration and support from others – family, coaches and fellow athletes – in order to succeed. I owe a ton of thanks to Sam Jackenthal for his inspiration and to his family for keeping his legacy alive by supporting athletes like me who would not be able to compete or train without this support.
I’m drawn to the sport of aerials because it’s unique and extreme. It’s relatively unknown in the skiing community, yet it requires some of the most talented and focused athletes. I’ve discovered you have to be pretty outrageous to want to be part of the aerial world: aerialists have to be crazy enough to huck themselves off a 4 meter jump and perform triple backflips with up to five twists. But being in the air is my most natural state, it’s my bliss. The feeling of landing a beautifully performed jump is like nothing else, and it’s what brings us all back to the sport even in the toughest of times. My goal is to make the U.S. Team in the next 2-3 years, compete in the Olympics and to help keep this beautiful sport relevant and alive for generations to come. All of this is a big reach for me. But I will work hard every day to make it happen.
Sam definitely knew what it was to reach for something that seems unreachable and I’m inspired everyday by how he jumped and how he lived. I know that when I jump, I stand on Sam’s shoulders. I hope I can continue to do a little bit to preserve his legacy and inspire athletes for years to come.Finnean McEeany
Sam Jackenthal grew up in Park City and was a member of the Youth Sports Alliance starting at an early age. In addition to participating on a number of YSA member teams, Sam was also a YSA scholarship recipient during a time of financial need. Sam medaled numerous times at national and regional competitions which required significant travel funds to compete. Sam’s dad, Ron Jackenthal, is a big supporter of YSA and their mission and is also on the YSA board of trustees.