National ski star is not even in high school yet

Olivia Taleon stars in both half-pipe and slopestyle events, but admits the slopestyle is her favorite because it includes obstacles such as jumps and rails.

Nate and Michelle Taleon of Irvine are avid snowboarders. But when they wanted their daughter Olivia, not yet 4 years old, to join the family fun on vacation in Switzerland, they learned that only snow skiing was taught for that age group.

A wondrous turn of circumstances.

Because Olivia Taleon just kept getting better on the ski slopes. Then better. Then sensational.  At 14, the eighth grader sports a room full of podium medals for regional and state events through the Mammoth Mountain Ski & Snowboard Team. Then some big ones. National podium finishes, and then the silver medal for her age group at a recent national competition in Colorado.

“Sometimes Michelle and I look at each other and say, ‘She is just so amazing. Is this real?’ ” says proud father Nate Taleon.

Olivia stars in both half-pipe and slopestyle events, but admits the slopestyle is her favorite because it includes obstacles such as jumps and rails. 

“It’s stiff competition, but the feeling is just great; I love it so much,” she says.

But the accolades don’t end with winter weather gone. Olivia also plays on two separate amateur basketball teams. How are they doing? Both have winning records this year.

The standard question she gets asked is one she can’t answer: Which sports does she love more? “I love just being on the ski slopes. But in basketball, I love the camaraderie of the team.”

Her goals for either sport? Olivia and her parents give the same answer: “I just want to live for the moment,” she says. “If I give it my best, the future will take care of itself.”

In fact, there is another side to this young “A” student athlete: A competing interest is her deep love for the world of art, which is one reason the Taleons are leaning toward Orange Lutheran High School for her freshman year in the fall. 

“It’s known for athleticism, the arts and academics,” Olivia says. “My three strongest interests.”

Here is another passion of Olivia Taleon’s: That she doesn’t do this alone.

“My parents have been with me on every step of this journey,” she says. “And that means so much to me.”

  • Two-time league MVP has higher aspirations

    Irvine High School senior Alexia Duncan, who’s been swimming since she was 4 years old, hopes to swim the 100-meter …

  • Sports Roundup (April 2024)

    Baseball race down to wire Pacific Coast League The Pacific Coast League baseball race could go down to the wire …

  • Sports Roundup (March 2024)

    Girls water polo team makes CIF finals Northwood High School After finishing 23-10, the Northwood High girls water polo team …

  • Big-time player

    Portola High basketball star Kira Watanabe has tallied over 1,000 points and 500 assists in her career.