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!

February 17, 2010


Completing the pursuit race yesterday brought me halfway through my racing at the 2010 Olympic Games. It's hard to believe that there are only two races left for me here in Vancouver, but I am very pleased with my results so far. Leaving no regrets behind is sometimes a very big challenge in big races like this, and so far I feel I am doing a good job.

Not only was Tuesday's pursuit my first Olympic pursuit race, but it was also my first ever international pursuit. I had fantastic shooting with only 2 penalties, and though I was hoping to have a better result, it was a great experience for me. With such good shooting in the last couple races, I am really looking forward to the Individual race tomorrow. The sunshine today and promises of more to come certainly aren't hurting my outlook either!

Inspirational Rocks are tucked away all around the village, it's fun (and inspiring) to try and find all of them!

February 14, 2010

Starting Off on the Right Foot

One race down, and I couldn't have asked for a much better start. One penalty, 45th place, qualified for the pursuit and top American! I'd say that's a pretty successful way to start off the Olympics. While I feel there are things I could improve in the race, I am happy with the outcome, and excited to race the pursuit on Tuesday. I haven't done a pursuit at this level before, so it should be an interesting and fun experience.

The highlight of yesterday's race has to be the crowd. When I started, there was an uproar of cheering from the crowd. My first thought was, "Did some German just shoot clean or something?" but then I realized, no, the cheering was for ME! Being used to pretending other people's cheers are actually for you (a necessary tool when cheering in Europe happens mostly for Europeans), it was amazing to have all the cheers really be for me. I almost smiled, and had to re-focus myself back into race mode as I left the stadium. It was an amazing experience, one I will never forget. I think it's finally hit me...I am at the Olympics!!!

February 8, 2010

Every Four Years-4 days to go!

The opening ceremonies for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games are only 4 days away, and things are starting to heat up! Although I won't be able to march in Opening Ceremonies (our first race is the next day), it's rapid approach is getting us all excited. I, along with the rest of the US Biathlon Team, have arrived in the village after a week at Mt. Washington on Vancouver Island for a training camp and a day in Vancouver at team processing. It's very exciting to be here, as you are surrounded by Olympic atmosphere constantly. The village is beautiful and being at the Olympics-being an Olympian-is really starting to feel real to me! I have not taken too many pictures so far, but below are a few of the past couple days, and I promise more to come soon!

I also want to quickly say THANK YOU to the Bogus Basin Nordic Team for sending me a great congratulations poster! It's hanging in my room here in the village...it really made my day getting such a great package. Good luck to you all at the final Intermountain JOQ-home course advantage! :)

A big part of processing? Trying on tons of clothes to make sure they fit!

Boxes and boxes of Nike and Ralph Lauren clothing at team processing.

Too many clothes to fit in your suitcase now? No problem-they have plenty.

Modeling the Closing Ceremony look.

3/4 of the women's team-me, Haley Johnson and Lanny Barnes (missing:Laura Spector)

February 1, 2010

Now THAT'S a Sporting Event!

Ok, things have been more than a little crazy, and I have completely neglected my blog. I know things are not going to calm down as we get closer to the Games, but the Olympics is an experience I truly want to share, so I'm going to work on it.

On course in Ruhpolding-hours before the start of the men's sprint.

The last World Cups in Ruhpolding, Germany and Antholz, Italy were good. I didn't have the results I know I am capable of, but given the stress and excitement of the prior weeks, I was happy with the experience. In Ruhpolding, I had the chance to scramble (go first) in the relay in front of over 20,000 fans-probably the closest I'll ever be to knowing how NFL stars feel taking the field in front of a packed stadium. It was an amazing experience, and not only did I have a great time, I had a pretty good leg. I tagged off in 12th place, less than a minute out of the lead, and had clean shooting in prone, and used only two extra rounds in standing. It was a great experience, and made me really look forward to the Olympic relay.

Some of the 20,000 fans leaving the stadium after the women's relay in Ruhpolding.

Antholz was beautiful, and just what we needed after three dreary weeks in Germany. Because of the race schedule, we were able to watch some of the men's racing, which was really fun. Normally we don't get a chance to watch other races, so it was neat to be able to cheer on our teammates.

Beautiful Antholz!

After Antholz I spent 5 days in Lake Placid doing some easy skiing and resting and recharging before the Olympics. I am now at our pre-Olympic camp at Mt. Washington on Vancouver Island. We're here for 5 days before heading to Vancouver for team processing and then moving up to the Whistler Olympic Village. It's really starting to sink in that I'm going to the Olympics and I'm getting pretty excited. It's going to be an amazing experience, and it's just around the corner!