Navigating Life’s Turns with World-Class Water Skier Thomas Degasperi

Thomas Degasperi Defies Age, No Plans of Hanging up His Ski


Thomas Degasperi defies age, no plans of hanging up his ski

Navigating Life’s Turns with World-Class Water Skier Thomas Degasperi

Image: @andrea_gilardi_fotografo

By Jack Burden

In the fast-paced world of professional water skiing, where youth often dominates, one athlete continues to defy the odds. Thomas Degasperi, a stalwart in the sport for two decades, recently shared insights into his enduring passion and drive on an episode of the Journey with Jake podcast.

At 43 years old, Degasperi is not just holding his ground; he’s conquering new milestones. His victory at the Malibu Open last season not only secured another accolade but also etched his name in history as the oldest skier to win a professional slalom event. Aged 42 years, 7 months, and 29 days at the time, he surpassed the previous record held by Andy Mapple by almost a full year.

Degasperi, a two-time world slalom champion, has competed in an incredible 12 consecutive World Championships from 2001 to 2023. In this span, he has finished on the podium on five occasions and remarkably missed the finals only twice, solidifying his status among the greatest slalom skiers of all time.

Reflecting on his enduring career, Degasperi shared his thoughts on the podcast, shedding light on the factors that keep him going. “I’ve been asking myself, ‘When is going to be the day that I hang the ski on the wall?’ I’ve been asking [myself] that for 5 or 6 years now, but the passion drives me to be young,” he expressed. The seasoned athlete attributes his continued success not only to the love of the sport but to the profound journey it represents.

Degasperi emphasized the role of family bonds and purpose in fueling his commitment. “It gives me a purpose, without a purpose I wouldn’t be going to the gym every day… It’s not even a passion anymore, it’s a way of life,” he added. Despite the inevitable challenges of aging, the Italian athlete remains competitive, successful, and, most importantly, driven.

Acknowledging the inevitable passage of time, Degasperi spoke about the importance of continuously setting new goals. “As long as my body can do it and I can still compete with the other guys I will do it,” he affirmed. For him, it’s not merely a passion; it’s an intrinsic part of his being.

In his own words, Degasperi revealed the fire that still burns within him. “The day that you stop learning or stop wanting to improve, that’s the day that you’re going to stop.” As he looks toward the future, both in sport and life, Thomas Degasperi stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of an athlete who refuses to let age dictate the terms of his journey.