February 25, 2010

MY Olympics

What a whirlwind! It's really hard to be believe that my Olympics are essentially over! All my racing is done, now all that's left is for me to enjoy the last few days of being here and take in some of the things I haven't had time for before now. Let me do a quick re-cap of the last two races.

The Individual race was a bit crazy. I felt really confident going in since my shooting had been so good in previous races. In an Individual format race, you have to have good shooting or you won't have a solid result. It's tough for even the best skiers to ski off a minute penalty. I had the slight advantage, and slightly nerve-wracking privilege of having bib #1 that day. It was a bit of an advantage because the day was very warm and so the snow stayed cold and hard for most of my race, which was lucky. But, being #1 was still a bit scary-no one out in front to get things going, only me! It was neat to have so many people cheering for me as I got the race started. I also had the chance to ski for a short bit with eventual race winner and bib #2 Tora Berger from Norway. She has an amazing engine, and it was great to be able to see where I need to go from here, and what speed will win medals. I had only 1 penalty in my third (prone) stage, and was able to hold on to 34th place when all was said and done. I was extremely happy with my performance, and though I felt I could do better skiing, I cannot complain about a top 35 result at my first Olympics. Making the day even better, my teammate and roommate Lanny Barnes had a great race, shooting clean and ending up 23rd! It was a solid day for the American women.

My brother, aka best cheering section ever, showing his pride.

Then it was just the relay left. I was slated to lead off in the "scramble" position, which I was pertty excited about. I like the excitment of the first leg and feel that I deal well with some of the crazy things that happen in the first lap of a mass start race. This race was no different-right away there was a scramble for position as those with faster skis (myself included) got a bit stuck in behind some of the slower skiers on the first little downhill. Then, on the big uphill about 0.5km in, a girl fell right in front of me and I had to quickly shift and double pole on one leg around her to avoid getting caught in the crash. I came in with the pack of women and used only one extra round to clean my prone. I left the range with a group and was able to stick with them into the second shooting. I cleaned standing without any extra rounds, and took off from the range, leaving several teams behind still shooting. I had a great last loop, catching a couple more girls, and coming in just behind the first chase group and only 30 seconds out of the lead in 11th place. I was very happy with my race, and my coaches were also pleased with how well I had done. Unfortunately, we were unable to hold our strong start and finished 17th, but it was a fun day for everyone anyway, and a great note for me to end on.

Women's Team having some fun in the sun the day before the relay.

Now I've been enjoying walking around Whistler, sleeping in a bit and hanging out with my family and friends who were here to see me race. It's nice to have a few days here before we head out. I really feel like I can take everything in now and really enjoy the Olympic fever. After closing ceremonies, I will head back to Lake Placid for a few days and then back to Europe for the last couple World Cup races. We'll be off to Kontiolahti, Finland and Oslo-Holmenkollen, Norway and I'm really looking forward to racing there. I feel I've had great results here in Vancouver and am only improving, so hopefully I can have a strong end of the season. Although in some senses it feels like the season should end with the Olympics, I'm still feeling ready to go, and am glad we get a couple more chances to race!

Getting ready for the press conference in the "green room." Very big time, right?

A view from the top of the Whistler Olympic Village. When it's not raining, it's beautiful here!


Lori Messenger said...

Sara, We've (Scott, Freya, Virgil & I) been searching for you every day on television and in the results. It's great to get the story from you now on your blog. I am so proud of you.
Love, Lori

Anonymous said...

Hi Sara
You did fantastic!!! We are so proud of you. Enjoy the rest of your Olympic experience.

Dana Mike Katie Anne and Matt

wolf21m said...

Excellent results! We have all greatly enjoyed following your progress. The first leg of the relay sounds like a great one. I will try to find some footage to watch it. Good long on your remaining races this season.