Laurenne Ross, a friend of mine who raced the Olympic Downhill, Super-G and Super Combined last week, left Sochi on Monday. Before departing she dropped a brand new Spyder (U.S. Alpine Team clothing supplier) jacket at the hotel desk for me. The jacket is in exchange for a pair of Bjørn Dæhlie (Nordic Team clothing supplier) pants I gave her in the fall. I had totally forgotten about the pants and am so psyched with my new jacket! It is even sponsor-patch free, a rarity in our world. Thanks Laurenne!
I’ve been playing Olympic spectator for the past two days. It’s been really fun. Tomorrow I move from the U.S. Ski Team hotel down in the valley back up to the Endurance Village. I probably won’t come off the mountain again for the rest of the Olympics, so I’m enjoying my time down here while I can. At this hotel we have U.S. Ski Team Chef Allen cooking for us, and he cooks delicious food. We had a real taste of home for lunch yesterday with grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and carrot ginger soup. I felt like I was in middle school again (although only in the menu, certainly not the quality.)
Yesterday was a little too busy for me to get a blog up. After the race I moved down to the hotel that the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) rented in its entirety for the duration of the Olympics. I had to figure out the internet situation in this new hotel. The hotel-wide internet is extremely spotty, but USSA has its own networks in the lobby and dining room that seem to be pretty good.
So, starting where my pictures start, my mom sent me some homemade beef jerky with Jessie Diggins’ parents who are here spectating.
I got a wonderful valentine yesterday from my teammates. I have to admit I didn’t reciprocate. I’ll have to do something for them before the end of the season.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Today was my second Olympic race, the 15 kilometer individual start classic. I skied well and executed my process goals. I didn’t get the result I was hoping for, but I’m confident and really looking forward to the 50 kilometer skate race at the end of the Olympics. More on today’s race later.
I got out-of-competition selected for anti-doping again last night. It was my third time getting tested at the Olympics, once in competition and twice out of competition. Luckily our wonderful team doc Larry Gaul is here to accompany me and make the process easy.
Summer has come early to the Caucasus mountains. It was 50 degrees Farenheit today (+10 Celcius). The running path around the lake was getting soft yesterday afternoon; it’s not too fun to run on.
I have not had time to read through the recent comments on this blog, but I have been told (by my father) that there have been multiple negative posts and that the discussion has moved away from my content. I understand people’s right to express their opinions, but it is very important that I maintain control of the content of this blog. There are many other platforms to express discontent. So, I am turning comments off, at least for the time being. I am so grateful to everyone who has expressed their support for me and my skiing through the comments on this blog. I am astounded and humbled by the incredible support I feel every day. Thank you!
Yesterday was the Olympic sprint. As a team and as a cross country skiing community in the U.S. we had been anticipating yesterday for four years. Of course every athlete who wasn’t racing went to watch. I headed up towards the venue with my teammates Bryan Gregg and Kris Freeman. On the walk a snowmobiler came by and Bryan flagged him down for a ride. Only two of us could fit and Kris and Bryan unapologetically (but in good humor) left me out to dry.
I got up to skiing yesterday afternoon just as my teammates who are sprinting today were finishing their pre-race ski. They are all feeling good and psyched to race. Here is Sophie Caldwell:
My website has been experiencing serious technical issues. I’ve been working with a website designer back in Park City, Utah to resolve the issues. We think the issues are actually being caused by too much traffic. We are working to move the site to different servers, but there may be continued issues in the next couple of days until we get it moved. Bear with us.
Since my last post I’ve completed my first Olympic race! It didn’t go exactly as I planned, but it was an incredible experience. I can’t wait for my next opportunity. More on the race later, but I’m going to start where my pictures start.
When it comes to the actual racing, most things here at the Olympics are the same as the World Cup. However, there are small things that the organizers are doing differently (sometimes better and sometimes worse) than the International Ski Federation (FIS) does every other weekend of the year. For instance, the Olympic Organizing Committee distributed this flow chart as part of the coaches’ slide show to make sure there is no confusion about how the athletes should get to and from the race:
OK, so maybe that doesn’t count as a creative title but at least it’s DIFFERENT than the last three.
It’s been an incredible 24 hours. Time is flying. By the time I finished blogging yesterday I had about 10 minutes to get dressed for opening ceremonies. It was a little frantic. Luckily the time we were requested to be ready had a built in cushion before we actually needed to leave. They must know that promptness is a struggle for some of us. The extra time gave us a chance to take some group pictures. Kris Freeman, Torin Koos, Liz Stephen, Holly Brooks, Sadie Bjornsen and Kikkan Randall all decided they couldn’t afford the time and energy to go to the ceremonies. I respect their decision, but I’m so glad I chose to go. Liz, Holly, Kikkan and Sadie got dressed in their outfits to take pictures with us before we headed down. Here is our entire team less Kris, Torin and Simi Hamilton (who was down visiting his family before the ceremonies). (Top row left to right: Bryan Gregg, Andy Newell, Erik Bjornsen and myself; bottom row left to right: Holly, Sadie, Kikkan, Liz, Sophie Caldwell, Jessie Diggins and Ida Sargent.)