Hilmi Esat Bayındırlı

Hilmi Esat Bayındırlı
Personal information
Nickname(s)"Erik", "Ebay", "Mac Gywer"
NationalityUnited States, Turkey
Born (1962-06-05) June 5, 1962 (age 56)
ResidencePark City, Utah, United States
Height1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Weight80 kg (180 lb)
SportPara-alpine skiing
DisabilitySpinal cord injury
Disability classLW11
Event(s)Men's giant slalom, sitting
Coached byMalia Brown (individual), Murat Tosun (Turkey national team)

Hilmi Esat Bayındırlı (born June 5, 1962), also known as Erik Bayindirli, is a Turkish-American Paralympic alpine skier, who competes in the LW11 disability class of mostly men's giant slalom, sitting event. He represented United States at the 2006 Winter Paralympics and Turkey at the 2014 Winter Paralympics.[1] A trained jeweller, he was paralyzed below the chest following a car accident in his youth.

Personal life[]

Hilmi Esat Bayındırlı was born to Turkish parents on June 5, 1962,[2][3] and grew up in Verbier, Switzerland.[4] At the age of 17, he moved to the United States. He attended the La Jolla High School in California to take some classes voluntarily. After developing an interest in jewelry making, he went to Oregon to get trained at a school in diamond setting.[5] In the next two years, he ran a jewelry business in San Diego, California. As a passionate skier, he realized that he had too little time for his sport hobby. Therefore, he gave up retailing jewelry and instead handcrafted rings and designed pendants in his home workshop for sale privately. Later, he moved to Utah.[5]

He is father of a son, Esat H. Hilmi Ba/ındırlı. The family lives in Park City, Utah, United States.[2] He is also known as Erik Bayindirli,[2][6][7][8] and nicknamed "Ebay".[1]

Road accident[]

In August 1981 at the age of 19, he was involved in a road accident,[5] which was caused by a flat tire when driving at high speed and subsequently loss of control of the vehicle. His car tipped over onto its roof after rolling over several times. He was ejected and remained under the crashed car.[2] He broke his back,[2] and became paralyzed due to the spinal cord injury.[6][7] While he has full function of his arms and fingers, he has only partial control of his body and no leg function. This leaves him unable to walk.[2]

Sports career[]

Inspired by his father, Bayındırlı began skiing together with his brother Cem (Jem Bayindirli) in Switzerland when he was three years old.[2][5] He was always performing skiing before he was paralyzed.[5] Around six months after his injury, he became aware of adaptive skiing,[2] and upon his physician's advise, he continued in skiing as a disabled pursuing his passion.[4][5][6] His disability pointed him towards competitive sport.[4] He improved himself in the para-alpine skiing sport discipline, and began to develop the outrigger ski suitable for his needs. He is convinced that the right equipment is crucial in para-skiing.[5] For his problem solving talent in handcrafting his skiing equipment, he is dubbed Mac Gyver, the title character of a TV series.[5][6][7] The monoski, he built with an additional shock absorber for his legs, helped him to improve his racing performance in the Super-G discipline at World Cup.[2]

He competes in the disability class of LW11, which is a sit skiing sport class for para-skiers with paralysis in the lower extremities. His first participation in a skiing competition was at Winter Park Resort, Colorado in 1981.[2] In addition to Giant slalom, he competed in the sitting versions of some other disciplines, such as Downhill, Slalom, Super-G and Super Combined.[2]

A graduate of Alpine skiing branch at the Rowmark Ski Academy in Salt Lake City,[8] Utah, he is 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in) tall and weighs 80 kg (180 lb). The para-skier trains at the National Ability Center in Park City,[2] and is coached individually by his wife Malia.[2][6] He performs also water skiing, para-cycling with a handcycle and wheelchair tennis as hobby,[2] which keep him in shape. He played at U.S. Wheelchair Tennis Open in San Diego.[5]

Unites States[]

During a stay in Copper Mountain, Colorado, he decided to participate at the U.S. Disabled Alpine Championships. He won one gold and two silver medals in the competition.[4] He internationally debuted at the Para Alpine Skiing World Cup held at Kimberley, British Columbia, Canada in 1989.[2] In 2006, he was admitted to the U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing Team, and debuted at the Winter Paralympics in 2006 in Turin, Italy,[5] where he took place 33 in the Giant slalom, sitting event. In 2007, he placed third in the U.S. Nationals that earned him a spot in the 2008 U.S. team.[5] At the 2008 Hartford U.S. Disabled Championships in Soldier Mountain Ski Are, Fairfield, Idaho, he won a third place in Downhill, sitting event, a third place in NORAM sitting and another third place in the slalom, sitting, a fourth place in the Giant slalom, sitting and a third place in the Super-G, sitting event.[9] The same year, he ranked sixth in the slalom event at "The Hartford Ski Spectacular" held in Breckenridge, Colorado.[4] At the 2010 IPC Alpine Skiing NORAM Cup held in Park City, Utah, he captured the first place. He became runners-up at the same tournament in 2013.[10] He placed sixth at the finals of 2013–14 FIS Alpine Ski World Cup.[6][7]


As he was not selected by the U.S. Paralympic Committee to race at the 2010 Winter Paralympics in Canada, he decided to join the Turkish team, which had not participated at the Winter Paralympic Games before. He saw "his decision as a great honor".[2] Bayındırlı was qualified to take part at the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia, representing Turkey by gaining a direct quota.[7] He was part of Turkey's first ever participation at the Winter Paralympics along with his team mate Mehmet Çekiç.[2] He finished the giant slalom, sitting event at place 18.[2]

He is coached by Murat Tosun in the Turkish national team since 2013.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Team – Erik Bayindirli (Ebay)". Enabling Technologies. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Athlete Bio: Bayindirli Erik". International Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  3. ^ "Esat Hilmi Bayindirli". Organizing Committee of the XXII Olympic Winter Games. Retrieved 2018-05-17.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Erik Bayindirli". Team USA. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Waldburger, Adia (2008-10-07). "Skiing rookie 'makes' his own way". Park Record. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Branşlar – Federasyonumuz Tarih Yazıyor (Sporcu Esat Bayındırlı)" (in Turkish). Türkiye Bedensel Engelliler Spor Federasyonu. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Paralimpik kayakta tarihi başarı". Hürriyet (in Turkish). 2014-01-16. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  8. ^ a b "SOC announces 230-member 2014 U.S. Olympic Team, 55 athletes share ties to the state of Utah". Ski Utah. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  9. ^ Mentzer, Jon (2008-03-13). "Soldier Mountain hosts U.S. Disabled Championships". Magic Valley. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  10. ^ "2013 IPC Alpine Skiing NORAM Cup – Men's Giant Slalom Final" (PDF). IPC Alpine Skiing. Retrieved 2018-05-08.