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Friday, January 3, 2014
I happen to participate in an Olympic or nothing sport. Meaning that you hear about bobsledding once every 4 years when the Olympic Games roll around and then nothing for 4 more years. Most people seem to think that the athletes just magically appear at that time and that the Olympic Games are the home of the one and only bobsled race of the year - and in a way, for the chosen few who make it, that's true.
It’s now 2014. The long anticipated fourth year. Which means you have probably started to see commercials on TV, or advertisements on Coke cans, or at least heard about the Sochi Winter Olympic Games that are now just days away. This leaves everyone asking, “Will we be seeing you on our TV?!”
So to answer your question, No..... not directly, not yet anyways, not this February.
Lets rewind back to the beginning of this season. It kicked off back in October with U.S. Bobsled Team trials. The races weren’t aired on prime-time television and we didn’t have thousands of fans cheering us on. We were simply ecstatic to have family, friends, and a handful of fans tuning in to watch a hazy live feed on the Team USA website. It may have seemed like one of those non-Olympic nothing moments to the rest of the world’s population, but to those of us living in that moment it seemed like everything.
This year was my first Team Trails as a pilot and I was honored to compete! Being the newest driver on the team I went into the season ranked USA-9. You would think that being ranked top 10 in the nation is a good thing, but the truth is that it isn’t exactly an ideal position to be in - in fact it’s not even good enough to get a race spot on our international development race tour. Forget the Olympics, I just wanted to race with a USA speed-suit on this year. So I knew God had to show up and show out.
Our first race was in Lake Placid, NY where I raced with Cherelle Garrett. Then I hopped in a car with teammates, Maureen Ajoku and Valerie Smith, and drove 39 straight hours to race number two in Park City, UT (where I raced with Maureen). At the conclusion of Team Trials the top 3 sleds were named to the National Team (which will more than likely go on to be the 2014 Olympic Team). I was named to USA-5. I got a race spot! Hallelujah! It’s not the 2014 Olympic Team but its definitely a step in the right direction for the future. Plus, finishing right behind 4 Olympians is pretty cool :)
From there it was off to Calgary, Canada to start the North American Cup tour. The tour may appear like one of those nothing moments, after all it’s not the Olympics, but I can guarantee you one thing in life - you will never get your big something (whatever it is) if you don’t treat all the little nothings as if they are the big something.
Anyways, the tour will finish off next weekend in Lake Placid, NY (after 3 tracks, 2 countries, and over 7,000 miles on the road). Then this February, I will watch. I will watch my training partners, teammates, and some of my dear friends compete for gold. I will watch the people I have shared blood, sweat, and tears with continue to lay everything they have on the line. I will cherish the memories of the little things I have done to help them get there and the big role they have played in my life.
As for my future in this sport, God willing, the bobsled journey is far from over. God willing, the dream is still alive. I’m still trekking along the long road to South Korea in 2018. It hasn’t always been glamorous, but its been very worth it so far. Funny thing is, Jesus preaches the same concept about life in general. Make whatever you do worth it.
So if you are reading this, thank you! Thank you to everyone who has followed my journey and cheered me on along the way. I can’t promise you that you will ever see me bobsledding on your T.V., I can’t promise you that I will wave the American flag in the Opening Ceremony... but I can promise you that I will continue to work harder and harder and harder every single day in an attempt to make this 2018 dream a reality not only for me but also for you!