First, I have to say, I am so excited to be officially named to the 2014 Olympic Team in Sochi! Ever since I was a young girl, I have dreamt of competing in the Olympics. I can remember telling all my classmates, my coaches throughout the years, my parents, my siblings, my friends, my sponsors, everyone! But, it is one thing to dream of going to the Olympics, and another thing to make all the sacrifices, hard training, tough decisions, and steps to get there!
|The J2 years racing in Soldier Hollow|
Four years ago, I dropped out of college and moved back to my home town in an effort to train my heart out to make the Vancouver Olympic Games. After giving up what felt like everything, and throwing all efforts into this dream of racing at the Olympics- I came out short. I had one of my worst years of ski racing, and lost all "fun" in the process. That same winter, I wondered if it was simply time to give up that "dream of racing in the olympics". It was at that same time that Holly Brooks and APU approached me and convinced me to give it a true try.
|The APU World Cup Ladies|
So, again, I went a new direction. What felt like a spontaneous and extreme decision four years ago turned out to be the best decision of my life so far! These past four years training with APU I have fallen back in love with this sport and made some huge improvements, and suddenly I am now going to be competing in this "Olympic Dream" of mine! As an athlete, there are always a million hard decisions you have to make, weeks on weeks of struggling, and and endless hardships. It is a bumpy road, but I am lucky that I have so many people in my life that keep me going. When injury seemed like it took over my existence and happiness last year, Erik Flora amazingly kept me afloat with the most positive outlook in the world! When I made the crazy decision to drop out of an NCAA supported school and transfer to APU- my parents didn't necessarily approve, but they supported my decision. There have been so many steps to get here; and it is crazy to think how each one could have worked out.
|One awesome coach!|
Since I was a young kid, I have had an incredible family full of love and support. My parents taught us how to work hard, how to appreciate the opportunities we get, and how to dream big. While Olympics may not have been what my parents were thinking when they told us to always reach high, but "doing our absolute best" was the real lesson. So, here Erik and I are, competing in our first Olympics together. It has meant a lot to have Erik around all these years. Since our very first races, Kaley, Erik and I were always looking out for each other. Even if that meant blocking each other in a mass start when we were 5, 7 and 9 years old!
|Kaley and Erik|
We have always had a sense for each other, and how to keep each other going! So as Erik and I have followed the same path since we started competing in sports 18 years ago, it has been awesome to have a brother and friend to keep me going. Erik has an incredible sense and ability to always keep the atmosphere light, the training hard, and the spirit high. Life is about having fun for Erik; so he always has a contagious smile and hug to offer. It has been vital for me to have that constant reminder around me year around! So, as Erik and I have had similar goals over the years, it has been fun to reach the same level together. Even though we are not directly racing each other anymore; everything is still a competition for us! If he wins two National Titles, then I better win three! If I make the Olympics, then he better too! So, here we are, at an even count now. Both competing in our first Olympics together.... so who is going to win this one?
|An awesome Family full of support!|
|He is the younger brother after all- he is supposed to be a little twerp! |
Anyways, as you can imagine, I am pretty excited for what is going to come. Last year was a ton of fun for our pre-olympic world cup in Sochi, so I am looking forward to seeing what the real show will be like this time around!
I have been recovering from a pretty bad flu virus the last two weeks, so it has been so nice to be able to train again. I wrote up a little summary of these past two weeks and the hardships for the NNF. Check it out here:
Thanks to everyone for all the kind notes you have sent!! It is pretty exciting.
From here is is one more week of training up here in Seiser Alm, Italy- and then our final World Cup before the Olympics. I am already excited to get back to racing after nearly 6 months off from racing.!