Cancer Survivor And One-Legged Skier Augusto Pérez Pushes Toward Olympic Glory

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The soft, late December sunlight filters through the trees in upstate New York’s Winona State Forest as Augusto “Goose” Pérez pushes up a snowy incline, arms aching from lactic acid buildup and sweat glistening on his forehead.

It's early afternoon a few days before New Year's and the 41-year-old U.S. citizen born in Spain is chugging through one of his grueling workouts in the hopes of making the U.S. Nordic ski team for the upcoming Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Cross-country skiing is a brutal sport that leaves the world’s best athletes literally falling face first in the snow at the end of a race, and for Pérez – who lost his entire left leg to cancer 10 years ago – the sport is even harder because he must compete with only the use of his two arms.

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