Growing up in Fairplay, at an elevation of 9,900 feet or so, you would expect Sophia Herzog to be a good skier.
The house she grew up in is where the town’s Nordic center used to be, but it’s from that mountain town and in a pool that Sophia has become one of the world’s best swimmers.
“It’s been work in the making for seven years so it’s nice to have it pay off,” Herzog said.
She just competed in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, taking on six events and winning silver in the 100 meter breast stroke.
Sophia learned to swim at 3-years-old, and now—at 19 she’s one of the world’s best swimmers. It’s remarkable considering the closest thing to a pool around Fairplay is the pool table in her basement.
Without a swim team or a big enough pool to train in, she and her family would have to drive more than 30 miles to Breckenridge.
“’I had to travel about an hour one way to get to a swim team,” Herzog said.
Something Fairplay Mayor Gabby Lane noticed.
“This is the hardest place in the world for a swimmer to train,” Lane said.
He was so impressed with his hometown athlete he made October 3 Sophia Elizabeth Herzog Day.
“October 3 from now on will be forever be known as Sophia Herzog day,” Lane said. “She’s a great representative for South Park and to the town of Fairplay.”
The proclamation was signed sealed and delivered just before Sophia went to Washington D.C. where she talked with John Kerry and got on a first name bases with President Obama,.
“I got to meet Obama, Biden and Michelle,” Herzog said.
It’s a long way from that old cross country ski course outside her house. Sophia says its proof of just how far a dream can take you.
“No goal is too crazy,” Herzog said.