Thor Sheppard is a unique overachiever unlike anyone we’ve met. His niche interests and dedication to excelling in these fields has shaped him to become an individual who cannot be easily put into a box. From scholastic pursuits such as learning robotics and programming for fun, to mastering the art of ballet and piano, Thor is a triple threat when you consider his impressive aptitude in athletics as well. His current training schedule consists of 450 hours annually to reach his goal of becoming an Olympic biathlete.
Thor: I’m Thor, this is my third year here [at IVLA]. When I was younger, I did... kind of everything! I mean, I was doing dance, I was doing skiing…
Thor’s mother: We live in a very small town
Thor: around a thousand people
Thor’s mother: and we're in a very remote area so we don't have a lot of things accessible in terms of some of the sports that other kids might do within a school district. We have winter nine months out of the year so skiing is a huge part of our lives, so he's been on the snow since he could walk.
Thor: Biathlon is a winter Olympic sport. It's skiing and shooting. So, cross-country skiing and shooting. I started shooting when I was five and have been doing it ever since. I enjoy it [biathlon] because it's really unpredictable. It's not like a running race or a skiing race or a bike race, where whoever starts out in first is probably going to win. Whereas biathlon you could be leading by a minute coming into the last shooting and then get fifth.
Thor: I have raced biathlon or skiing in Canada, the U.S., Finland, Norway, and the Czech Republic… I’ve traveled for camps and races I’ve been to Europe five times now in the past four years.
Thor: I have been doing some form of online school or blended learning since seventh grade. The reason we went to online school was because we wanted to make sure that for middle and high school I had something that had a transcript and was accredited as opposed to just a log of what I had done. My parents and I tried another online program of purchasing a curriculum, and it just… it was not that great. They drastically changed how the teachers communicated and whatnot.
Thor’s mother: where this is… Thor talks with his teachers. There's interaction. It's completely different. So it's a much better arrangement.
Thor: Usually it's training in the morning and in the afternoon. I'll do school in between. I do school whenever I’m not training. I do it over the summer and try to finish my core courses by October so then I just have my electives and nothing for my racing season which is from November until March. It's definitely nice to be able to go train and not have to worry about school. Then you can come back and, you know, if it's a nice day and I want to go into Yellowstone for the day or something I can go do that and then do school some other day.