CARY, North Carolina (WTVD) --Skiing is a grueling sport for plenty of athletes, but one 81-year-old Cary native is out to prove age isn't a limit when it comes to excelling in the sport.
When he skis in North Carolina, Joseph Polcaro said he's usually the oldest person on the slopes. He's also one of the fastest.
"It's very exciting. You feel like, on the skis and on the slopes there, you feel like a bird. It's just beautiful," Polcaro said.
"He taught both my children to ski, skiing backwards down the mountains in the North Carolina mountains, their skis between his coming down the mountains in his late 70s," said Polcaro's son-in-law, Ross.
A year before he turned 50, Polcaro picked up the sport. Now 81, his talent in the snow led him to an even bigger stage.
"I qualified in January, middle of January," Polcaro said. "And then about 2-3 weeks later, I got an email saying, 'Congratulations, you have qualified to participate in the National Championship.'"
The Nastar National Championship was held in Steamboat Springs, Colorado in March. While Polcaro has qualified for the event in the past, his silver medal finish this year was his best result yet.
"The first time I went through there, it was fine, but the second time, the flag confused me and I went the wrong way. But it was okay," Polcaro said. "I was looking for any medal, but the silver was pretty good. I was happy, really happy. I'm still happy. I'm showing it to everyone all over the place."
"Our goal going in was clean runs, compete and do well, and to come home with a silver medal," Ross said. "It's a great story here at Searstone for the residents here for him to tell."
For Polcaro, the championship event was also a chance to bond with other senior citizens in the sport. He even gave his group a special nickname - the Rest Home division.
Polcaro also received a challenge from a 94-year-old skier.
"He said, 'I'll see you next year.' So I gotta do it. I gotta try to do it again. I wanna see if that guy's gonna show up."
Polcaro's big result has also had a positive impact on those around him. He hopes to continue to show that age really is just a number.
"He's an athlete at 81, just like he was at 61. It's a high bar to qualify," Ross said. "To come home with a silver medal, it's great. It's a great example for my kids to see as well."
"The first thing I would tell them is try," Polcaro shared. "Try because I think that you'll like it."
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