It is amazing how many different possible outcomes can become your future. It is hard to know which way is up sometimes when you are thrust into a situation that has so many variables. As an athlete, that is pretty much your life. You never know if the future will go your way or not. Seeing as we don’t have crystal balls or control over everything, we are subject to the waiting game. In the end, you only have control over yourself.
I will admit that it is very difficult for me to stay in the moment and focus on just one task at hand. My coaches often tell me that I need to back up and take one thing at a time. I should, but I don’t always. Our upcoming final Olympic selection race had my mind spinning like a tornado.
When it came time to race I found that I was ready. I was prepared for the possible outcomes and knew that it wasn’t the end of the world if I missed the team, but if I made the team…. Can you think of a moment in your life that you felt like you were just floating? I have been to the Olympics, in 2008, and making the team was one of the most overwhelming things of my life!
So here I am, on a Monday morning, sitting at the hotel computer typing away. I am here to tell you that no matter what outcome ran through my mind, the only one that mattered is the one that came to be. I AM going to the 2012 London Olympics!!!!
On Saturday, June 9th, I raced my first World Cup of the season and had the best race of my career thus far. It couldn’t have come at a better time either! Placing 7th in the semi-finals, I moved onto the Finals where I placed 6th and took my place on the United States Olympic Slalom Team! The team comprises of myself for C-1 Men, Scott Parsons in K-1 Men, Caroline Queen in K-1 Women, and Eric “Butter” Hurd and Jeff Larimer in C-2 Men!
My weekend has been a mixture of emotions since Friday. The race was scheduled to begin that day, but was postponed due to high winds. We resumed racing on Saturday, but had eliminated the qualifying runs from all classes that had been set to race on Friday. We were all moved to the Semi-Final round so that we could fit everything into the time frame we had. I moved into the Finals with teammate Benn Fraker who led with more points in the Olympic battle. However, a penatly protest moved the Russian C-1 into the Finals and bumped Benn out. You can never know what sort of craziness will happen, but this was just the outcome I needed to overcome my point deficit. I secured my place on the Olympic team after a solid run. It wasn’t a great run, but sometimes the best thing to do is be a little safe.
That same afteroon had C-2 Men scheduled for their qualifying runs, which meant that I was going to race some more! All three United States C-2′s broke into the Semi-Finals, something none of us can ever remember seeing!This meant it was a real race! We each took our runs the next morning, and gave it our all. Devin and I had a good run, but accumulated penalties that bumped us out of the Finals had we been clean. As it was, we placed 13th. Dave Hepp and Scott McClesky had a fantastic race and comeback from retirement, placing them in 18th. In the end, Eric and Jeff had a great race and made their first World Cup Final. They placed 9th.
Devin and I have grown so much over the past year. Yes, we are disappointed with how the results ended up, but we are so proud of ourselves for making such leaps! A 13th finish is nothing to be ashamed of, especially in the tight field of C-2. It is safe to say that we are happy that the process is over and no longer stressing us out!
I am glad that this race is finally behind us. Now we will begin the next steps in our racing whatever our paths are. I am excited because I finally get to return home and see my friends, family, and girlfriend after a month and a half away. But first, I am so proud of every United States athlete that raced this weekend! We may race individually, aside from C-2, but we are a team and I am happy to have raced with everyone!
Congratulations Team USA! Congratulations USA Olympians!
See you on the water!