Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Let's Try Again

Let's try again... A few short words that could describe anything... a driver's test you failed, getting sprayed while changing a baby's diaper, walking into a sliding glass door, starting over a new 4 year Olympic cycle or even... blogging.
I read in an article once that you aren't supposed to apologize for not blogging for a while... but does that apply for one week, 3 months, or... 7 months. I am sorry, but I also feel the need to explain...


I came into this season more prepared than I have ever felt. I dialed in many weaknesses that had presented themselves during previous seasons. I was training better than ever and my coaches felt that I was on track. 




However, sometimes life decides that it will test you, and we don’t get to choose when this happens. It was a season of struggle, disappointment and picking myself back up to try again. 



I’ve often said of my past seasons that they were seasons of learning, and seasons of growing, and that is true, however, this season was truly a year that made me take a step back, ultimately to realize that I have to make big changes to take multiple steps forward. 

Sometimes it takes challenges, set backs and struggles to make you realize the drive that is inside of you, how much you can handle, how well you can ski under difficult circumstances and the changes that need to be made in order to soar in the future. These challenges ranged from equipment changes to allergic reactions the morning of a race. 

Through all of this I didn't want to write. I was trying to get better, trying to "snap out of it" and change things around, and this is where I put my focus.

I will not dwell on these things on my blog. Instead I want to take you to the period of time that everyone is wondering about and that I have been dreaming about my whole life, the Olympic Games. 


First of all, to answer the most important questions that are floating around in everyone's minds... no I did not see two toilets in one stall, yellow drinking water or open manholes dropping 15ft. Actually, Sochi is a beautiful place, the volunteers were incredible friendly, other venues were quite easy to get to and our accommodations were very nice. 


I arrived in Sochi about midway through the games and my first experience was eating kabobs at a giro stand. However, my first Olympic experience was watching my friend Denny Morrison win a silver medal in speed skating after his teammate, Gilmore Junio, gave up his spot for Denny.


This is what truly began my Olympic experience. Remember when I wrote a blog post about "inspire and be inspired"? Well I was truly inspired. 

Leading up to the games I had been struggling with some back pain, making some equipment changes and dealing with a disappointing first half of my season. 
However, I knew a few things:
1) None of these things mattered and I could still be a contender
2) No matter what was thrown at me I was ready to deal with it
3) Inspire... No matter what happened I was going to hold nothing back. I was not going to let anything stop me from skiing like myself and behaving in a way that was true to myself. 


I decided that I would start the GS race after quite a few months of focusing on slalom. As many of you saw the weather was difficult on this day. We experienced tough conditions and mostly... a lot of snow and rain. 

However, I was simply happy to be skiing GS again. I was happy to stand in the start and get the jitters out, and most of all I was so pleased that I felt some amazing feelings again in GS. I ended up 21st in the race, which is my second best result in GS to date. 



I came through the finish line and saw one of the only Canadian flags in the crowd... It was my dad, drenched to the bone, wearing a "Go Erin" t-shirt over his ski jacket, waving a flag with a huge smile on his face. And this made me think... To all those parents out there paying a great deal of money so that their kids can race and then spending more money to stand freezing on the side of the hill to watch their kids... Yes, it is worth it. 

We appreciate every penny you've ever spent and every toenail you've ever lost. And to those athletes that wonder if it is all worth it... Just look into your parents face after a race whether you have done well or not. 

My Olympic result in slalom was disappointing, however it was not devastating. I came into the slalom ready to race, against all odds. I stood in the start feeling a smile starting to form on my face because I knew that finally I was ready to race. 

I pushed out of the start and I can still imagine the rhythm of the course and my feet finding the tempo of the rut. About 2/3 of the way down the course I was in around 4th or 5th, but then I was off by a centimeter, a millimeter even, and I straddled. 



I swallowed a skifull of the salted snow, coughed a few times and then thought, “You have to go down and wave at your fans, your family and Canada.”

My goal for the Olympics was not to simply finish, it was to be a metal contender, and that is why I am not devastated. Of course I am disappointed, however I gave everything I could.  It didn’t work out for me this time, but I didn’t let anything, including past experiences, hold me back. 







 I've had some time to digest my season, my struggles, my successes and I've discovered some changes that I want to make. We have just completed our physical testing and I feel positive that with the team in place behind me I can make the changes that I want to make. I am continuing to pursue my dream and my goals, but first I wanted to thank all of you for your support, your belief and your kind words.... and now... let's get back up and try again. 

4 comments:

  1. Erin, you introduced yourself to my daughter and I in the Toronto airport this past march, we were coming back from Europe and you were on you way to Whistler. We recognized you but didn't want to "bother" you. However you were so friendly and inviting Amelia into the lounge with you was very cool, she thought you were great. Not only are you a great skier but a very nice person, thanks for showing us who you are. Steve

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  2. Erin, I can only imagine the roller coaster you've been on. Had daughters in ski racing, so know a bit. You go, girl!

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  3. Oui Erin, try again! You had a tough year and shed tears in Courchevel but you are such a nice person. Keep working, good luck for your "changes" and you still have all my support! Best wishes for your next season! Thomas

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  4. Christine HaeberlinMay 22, 2014 at 6:56 PM

    Lovely story - so personal and touching. I met your dad in a bus at silverstar during nationals about 2009 - he was so proud - wonderful for him and all parents that you show your appreciation for this support. I am excited about all your success and you have articulated on behalf of my daughters and their friends in ski racing who have learned and grown from their love of the sport.

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