I have been asked A LOT lately what I thought of the London Olympics. These games, just as I hope all Olympics do, have really seemed to inspire a ton of people. The truth for me is that I didn't really get an opportunity to see much. The first half of the games I was in New Zealand which is 1/2 way around the world from London, and therefore on a very different time schedule. The second half of the games I was at home without a TV. I followed what I could on the internet and checked to see how Team USA and some of my favorite athletes were doing, but I wasn't very involved. I love the Olympics and everything about it, so I have thought a bit about why it didn't spark a big desire in me to watch this time around. Then this blog came to my attention
I had never seen this until this week and it really brought back some memories (or lack thereof since I don't remember much of this incident). It did make me mad a bit and it lit more of a fire in me that the London games was able to. Seeing this made me realize why I, subconsciously, may not have been watching the Olympics. It is too close still and too emotional. I have one goal in mind in the next two years and I know obtaining too much emotion is not the way to go about it, so I removed myself from it. I really want another chance to go for Gold, I want a fair chance this time with no fences or helicopters, I want to do everything I can before then to give myself the best opportunity. That is about all the emotion I can put into my current life, so adding the incredibly inspiring stories of the summer athletes to that was just too much.
With that said, I am extremely proud of Team USA, especially of my friends Meb (4th place, Marathon) and Allyson (3 Gold medals). I also look forward to a time when I can watch the Olympics as an outsider and cheer as loud as possible, but that will have to wait 18 months or so.
Myself, Laurenne, and Julia just after exiting the lava tubes in Maui
I love exploring. There is just something about seeing our diverse world with an open eye that really lights my spirit up. Maybe it is the humbling fact of really learning how small we are as individuals in this great big world that really fires me up to try to always be bigger and better. Mother Nature really has a way of making you feel small and not in control, the stubbornness inside me is always trying to beat that! I never will, but hopefully my stubbornness always keeps trying. On the way to New Zealand this year, my teammate and friend Laurenne Ross and I made a pit stop in Maui to visit another teammate and friend, Julia Mancuso. Julia invited us to her home to show us a bit of her world. Julia is a very impressive person, very real and generous, and her free spirit is contagious. She spoiled Laurenne and I by going over the top as a host. I have lived in Maui for a few months before, but Jules really knows how to explore and there is always new experiences out there. We explored some awesome lava tubes and cliff jumps on a hike, and had a really early morning to watch the sun rise on top of the volcano. Time in the ocean was part of the daily program as well. I am truly grateful for a few "wild" island days and thank you very much Jules for the opportunity.
After the pit-stop, it was time to head back to winter down under. Laurenne and I stayed in Auckland for 2 days while Jules continued on to the South Island. Our city time wasn't too crazy, but we got to see a bit of the city and we really did go on a all out search for the best food. I can't really report Auckland as being a culinary destination, but it is always good for this small town girl to get to a big city. It really makes me appreciate getting back to small towns!
Finally it was time to get on snow and winter didn't seem nearly as cold and unfriendly once the skis hit the snow. Our team did 2 solid weeks of GS training. It is good for speed skiers like myself to practice GS and move a little quicker then we are used too. A solid turn performed at the quick GS tempo is easy to translate into a Downhill turn at higher speed but slower tempo. The other project for the camp was to start adapting to the new, larger radius equipment we will be using on the World Cup this year. The skis are different, but not in a bad way. They force the skier to be more precise and you cant really get away with technique flaws like the old skis allowed. I am happy with my Rossi's and think with more time on snow everything will become second nature again, but I do worry about 16 year olds having to use these in the future.
Besides a large bruise on my hip, a sprained thumb, and 3 purple toes, I left camp feeling progressive, happy, and healthy. I can't wait to get to Chile and start going fast again. Until then, I am sure going to make the most of every California summer day I can.
Life is full of surprises and amazing places. I have an overwhelming desire to constantly be challenged and pushed, and to see everything this world has to offer.