One last break before the Sochi season
In about nine months, my teammates and I will make history: We'll be the first female ski jumpers to participate in the Olympics, as the sport makes its debut at Sochi 2014.
Though we've had a World Cup circuit for two seasons and world championships since 2009, it's just not the same as getting our Olympic moment. We've worked really hard for this -- and even filed a lawsuit before the Vancouver Olympics in 2010 to try to get women's ski jumping included. That lawsuit failed, but after a new decision from the IOC in April 2011, we've finally made it onto the Olympic program.
So the preparation and buildup for February is especially important for us, and we're coming off of a fantastic year as a team. This past World Cup season wrapped up in March with a world championship for our own Sarah Hendrickson. The U.S. women's ski jumping team also won the Nations Cup for the second year in a row, meaning we are the No. 1 team in the world!
After our success during the winter months, I took some much-needed time away from the gym and ski jump. In April, I went on vacation to Costa Rica with some ski friends from around the country. I was able to put in some major R & R at the beach and also explored the jungle a little. We spotted numerous monkeys and some sloths, and a group of raccoons even stole our lunch -- it was hilarious.
After I returned, Sarah and I flew to San Francisco to participate in a fundraiser for the nonprofit Right To Play, an amazing international organization that brings sport to impoverished countries. Not only do they believe every child has the "right to play," but they also educate kids on health issues that pertain to where they live, such as malaria, HIV and other diseases. We had a blast learning about RTP’s outreach program and playing games with kids. I hope to work more with them in the future.
Now, as the offseason winds down, I am excited to gear up for another epic season. Our entire World Cup team is based out of Park City, Utah, and because we spent the majority of the winter months on the road and competing, summer training is when we really focus on building strength and improving technique.
We are constantly pushing and motivating one another, which is one of the reasons I believe we are the best in the world. With the Olympics on the horizon, I can only imagine this summer of training will be as action-packed and competitive as ever.
Lindsey Van, Sarah and I will be providing updates about everything from training, to our hopes for the Games, to the things we do outside of ski jumping. Stay tuned!