Making the team
I anticipated this time as being one of the happiest of my life, and I wasn’t prepared for all the mixed emotions that would come with being named to the 2014 U.S. Olympic team in bobsled.
Even though I’m beyond ecstatic that I’m on the roster, there are many things tugging at my heartstrings this week. One of the hardest things to take in is that some of my teammates are not going to be in Sochi.
Maybe it’s because I’ve been there before: Four years ago, when I was a brakeman, I didn’t make the cut for the Vancouver Olympics. So my heart goes out to the girls who are in the same position I was.
But also, every member of the team has helped me earn my current rank of second in the world and reach my goal of becoming an Olympian, so I have a special connection with each of them.
Let me explain. We’ve been traveling with six brakemen and three drivers this season. I have trained and raced with almost every girl, and it is truly a team effort to get through the whole World Cup season and qualify three sleds for the Olympics.
I have won five World Cup medals so far this year, with three different brakemen (Lauryn Williams, Katie Eberling and Lolo Jones). I also won a North American Cup race with Aja Evans, as well as the national team selection race in Park City with Emily Azevedo.
So the truth is, any combination of the national team brakemen and drivers could be successful in Sochi with the depth of talent we have. It’s so unfortunate that only three brakemen can be chosen.
The Olympics is the most elite level of competition, and something that I’m honored to be a part of. My life has been driven by my competitiveness and love for sports, and to have finally reached my ultimate goal is an indescribable feeling.
I have had so many people help me and believe in me along the way. From my family, to my sponsors, to people who gave me an extra tip when I was waitressing to help fund my goals, I could not have gotten to where I am today without the unconditional support I have received.
My mom passed away when I was very young, and I’m really sad that I can’t share this experience with her. I know she would be proud, and it has been very hard without her presence in my life. From the stories I’ve heard about her, we share the same determination, passion and spirit. I miss her so much, especially now.
One very special part of this whole experience, though, is that I am able to share this accomplishment with my fiancé, Christian Poser, who will be representing Germany in bobsled. To realize this dream at the same Olympics is something we will cherish for the rest of our lives together. I’m also fortunate that some of my family will be coming to support me in Sochi. My dad, brother, aunt, uncle and cousin are all making the trip to Russia to come watch me race.
I’m grateful for the experiences in my life that have led me to this point. The road to Sochi has not been easy. Overcoming injuries, financial obstacles, the loss of my mom and many other struggles along the way have made this accomplishment an incredibly meaningful one.
It’s an amazing opportunity, to say the least, to be able to represent the USA at the Olympics.
And it’s one that brings out more emotions than I ever thought possible.