NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - In the dimly-lit boiler room of a building in DUMBO surrounded by a snarl of pipes and boxes and other people's excess stuff, the superintendent of this property, a 36-year-old father of three, trains alone for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
"Running, lifting -- mostly legs pretty much -- and trying to see what I can do better," said Besnik Sokoli, who immigrated to Brooklyn from Kosovo as a 17-year-old war refugee in 1999. "I love Brooklyn. I love America in general. And I appreciate every chance I get."
The son of a ski instructor, Sokoli recently took his three children for their first ski excursion. On that trip, while his kids navigated a bunny slope, Sokoli found a race course on an adjacent run and for the first time in more than 20 years ran some gates.
"I wanted to try it and see how I am at this point, at this age," he said.
Sokoli impressed himself enough to begin months of lateral movements on a basement Skier's Edge machine, an Olympic-caliber workout routine, and a summer spent chasing races in South Africa, Chile, and Argentina to earn the requisite number of points by January 18, 2018, and qualify for one of the four positions on Kosovo's Olympic alpine team. All that while he continues to manage five buildings in Brooklyn.
Only one skier has yet qualified for Kosovo's Olympic team. As long as he can avoid injury, Sokoli rates his odds of joining him and skiing slalom and giant slalom at the games in South Korea as very good. That would be something he wishes his father could've lived to see.
"I'm his living dream and my immediate family, they're loving it at this point," Sokoli said. "The trick in life generally is just don't quit. Just keep going until you reach that goal."
Sokoli started a GoFundMe page to help him pay for travel to the remaining races he needs to qualify for the games.