Sunday, December 19, 2010

Racing For a Cure

Last year each person on our team was asked if we had cause or charity that was special to us. I immediately responded and expressed that breast cancer awareness and fighting for a cure for breast cancer is something close to my heart. My mother is a 25 year breast cancer survivor and was given a 50-50 chance to survive another 5 years after her diagnosis. Luckily, thanks to surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments she has not had a reoccurrence and has been an amazing mother to my three sisters and I. After expressing my mothers involvement with breast cancer awareness in our community the Bobsled and Skeleton Federation connected with the Susan G. Komen Foundation and we had the honor of racing the entire season with their logo on our sled.

Now we take it up a notch. This week our sled was wrapped to be the “Susan G. Komen” bobsled, or as we like to call it- our ‘boobsled.’ Sporting the bright pink ribbon on it’s sides, and shadows or ribbons throughout, the last two world cup races before Christmas took on a greater purpose. Olympic sports are prized throughout the world for athlete’s endless dedication to their dreams. But that’s just one individual’s dream. We are admired for our tenacity, but the reality is Olympic athletes have made it to that level by being experts at catering to their own needs. This week was a different story however, as I had the opportunity to not only represent my country on a world platform, but also bring attention to a cause that is greater than me, greater than bobsled, and so close to my heart.

Though the usual race nerves were there, there was also a certain amount of comfort as I warmed up for these races knowing that I was in a sense, “racing for the cure.” My mother came out on the positive side of her 50-50 chances, and this was a celebration of her determination that she passed down to me. Our hope is throughout the season we can raise awareness for breast cancer research and support the Susan G Komen foundation in their quest to find a cure.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I have been all over the world, but nothing can ever compare to being home for Thanksgiving with my family. Each year I have a hard time being away during the Thanksgiving holiday and I never really knew why. I shared how difficult Thanksgiving can be for me with Bree and she helped me realize that I miss it so much because I have many fond childhood memories connected to the holiday. I remember waking up every Thanksgiving being so excited and proud to help my fathers ‘surgical nurse’ and help him stuff and stitch up the turkey just like he does daily as a surgeon. After turkey surgery was done we would watch the Macys day parade and lounge most the day until it was time to bake our usual meal including, whipped potatoes, green bean casserole, and sweet potatoes.  I love food and nothing compares to my mom's home cooked meals, especially on Thanksgiving.  This year I was not sure if I would get a meal that was at all similar to a typical Thanksgiving dinner, but last minute we were able to whip together a meal as close to Thanksgiving as we could in less than an hour. It was nice to be with my bobsled family and be thankful of what each of us has been able to accomplish in the last year.

Thanksgiving has come and gone and so have the first two World Cups, where Bree and I finished 6th. I am happy with our results and of course that I am healthy enough to race, but as every athlete knows it is hard to be satisfied with anything but being the best. Seeing all the women on the podium in front of us only pushes us more and more each week to get our first top three results. We are now in Park City, Utah gearing up for our third World Cup race. I love racing in Park City and I can not wait to see what we can do this upcoming week.

Check out for upcoming results

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rest is for the weak?

Sometimes the greatest personality downfalls are also some of the greatest attributes. I for one am probably one of the most stubborn people that you will meet. I rarely ever admit to this fault, but I can’t seem to escape this reality. My zodiac sign is Taurus, with the symbol being bull horns. I have never been a believer in astrological signs, but I seem to fit the mold by being steadfast, determined and bull headed. I get this trait from my father, who is probably the only one capable of going head to head in a competition of stubbornness with me. My father broke his leg, falling off a ladder a few years ago, which resulted in eleven surgeries and a near amputation. One would think that after eleven surgeries he would be very careful in all aspects of life and especially climbing up and down ladders. I have learned through my father that sometimes stubbornness can verge on stupidity. I respect the fact that he is determined to do what he was able to do before his injury, but in most situations it can be more beneficially to swallow some pride and ask for help or step down when it is needed.

This is something I can say I will do, but in reality most times it does not happen. I believe that being stubborn is something that has allowed me to be successful in sports. I have been told many times that I will not be able to do the things I hope to accomplish. Instead of backing down my stubborn instincts kick into gear and I want nothing more than to prove my doubters wrong. Unfortunately, that combined with my impatient nature can lead to disaster. I have a hard time listening to my body when it is telling me that I can not do something because just like my doubters I want to prove it wrong as well. I have tried to channel my Coach D when I train or when I am injured and remember her telling me that we are not looking at the race here and now, but the one that matters at the end. I have had to attempt to be patient this week and listen to my body, instead of ‘working through the pain.’ It is very hard as an athlete to not be active or doing your sport, but my hope is that with this rest my hamstring and my body can be 100% for race day Thanksgiving Day. I know on that night I will be thankful to be racing down the Whistler track once again, remembering the amazing time I had here last February.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

To The Beach!

8 hours after beginning my travels this morning to Park City, Utah and I am still where I started, in the Albany airport.  But there is one catch…… I am 800 dollars (well, United dollars) richer!  I am not sure if the lady at the United counter has ever seen anyone as excited as I was to give up a plane seat.  Not only did I give my seat up once, but also a second time!  I was all but begging her to take my seat away from me and now I feel like I have won the plane voucher jackpot! I am not going to go as far as to say that I enjoy what the Albany airport has to offer; although it is very hard to pick which healthy option, McDonalds or Pizza, I will choose for lunch.  I chose pizza.  I do, however, appreciate sitting here and thinking of all the warms places I can fly with these vouchers.  I can never understand why everyone is not as anxious as I am to exchange a plane seat and a little time for a vacation flight.  As I look around I realize that it spending a couple extra hours in airport so that many of the passengers could get home to their children and families.  Often I am reminded of some of the things I give up for this lifestyle, but also the freedoms that it allows me to have.  I will have plenty of time for family and children, but for now I am going to sit here basking in my glory thinking of the tan I will get in the spring.  

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bobsled Time!

I am currently in Lake Placid, New York for the start of bobsled season. We have been here for almost two weeks, preparing for our World Cup team selection races this coming week. There are a lot of new faces in the bobsled world and also a few returning teammates. It is always fun to see the reaction of the rookies after they take their first bobsled runs. It is hard to explain what it feels like, but I can guarantee it is unlike anything you have every experienced. So far I think we have only had one person go home after experiencing the trips, so in my book that is a small victory!

On the women’s side of things we have three former push athletes trying their hand in the front of the sled and six rookie brakeman with some serious potential. It is really great for our program to have successful push athletes turn to drivers as we know they will have a great push as they progress in their driving skills. It is also good for us to have this many rookie athletes coming from successful college athletic careers having interest in our sport. I remember back four years ago when I first started sliding and I was one of two rookie brakeman, so it is great to see that interest in growing as we move toward 2014.

My very first bobsled race in 2006

2007 World Championships with Erin Pac

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Moving forward

The last few months at the Boys and Girls Club have been incredible, but now it is time to move forward towards my upcoming season.  I really enjoy my sport and have amazing opportunities because it, but it always feel as if I am leaving.  Over the past three years I have spent longest amount of time in one place in Colorado Springs, but when the 6 months come to end I am more than ready to begin sliding.  I am almost not even sure if I know how to be in one place for any longer than that!  I was very sad to leave the Boys and Girls club and all the friends I have made there, but I recieved a nice card and huge hug from the kids as I left.  I will miss them very much, but I hope we can keep in contact throughout the upcoming months. Thank you for welcoming me into the Tutt Boys and Girls Club family!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Good bye and Good luck!

Friday was a sad day at the Boys and Girls Club. It was the last day of Ms. Marie, a longtime employee of the club. I don’t know if I really realized until this day how much of an impact we can actually have on the kids. Ms. Marie is one of the most kind, nurturing, loving people I have met and truly has motivated me to form a more personal connection with the kids at the club. Many of the kids come from very difficult family lives and come to the club to get relief from these situations for a few hours. It allows them to be kids, something they may not have the ability to be at home. I have heard many of the kids talk about how they have a parent in jail or a mother who is never home because she has to always work to take care of the family. Some of these kids raise themselves and their siblings. Ms. Marie has been a stable parent figure to many of these kids and has been a kind heart to help heal some of their pain. A majority of the kids were in tears as Ms. Marie said her final good byes. I saw many boys who are taught to act tough and are constantly getting in trouble sob and talk about how Ms. Marie has encouraged and impacted them during her last four years at the club. I am constantly told by people in my community that I have inspired them by chasing my dreams, but people like Ms. Marie are the true inspirations. I can only hope that I am having half the influence Ms. Marie has made at the Boys and Girls Club. We will miss you Ms. Marie.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Feel the rhythm feel the ryhme......

School has started in Colorado Springs and with that comes a new group of kids at the Boys and Girls Club.  It was very difficult to say good bye to the summer campers, but I am getting to know and learning more about the new kids everyday.  It was exciting to meet two new girls who almost immediately remembered meeting me at the Olympic Training Center.  They recalled my sport and were very excited to share with their peers what I do.  I was heartbroken to hear that many of the kids had no idea what Bobsled was and did not watch any of the winter Olympics.  Of course, I asked them if they had seen the movie "Cool Runnings," which is how most people identify our sport, but none of them had.  I found the movie (which took a great deal of work!) and we all watched it together.  I got a chance to explain with the boys and girls what I do and answer any questions they had about my sport.  It was a lot of fun to see how focused they were watching the movie and trying to figure it all out.  I am glad they got to learn a little about me as I learn more about each of them. 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Superman .....or Woman!

The other day I was looking through a magazine and happened to stumble upon an article which highlighted a plus size model. I was completely astonished to see that this plus size model was 5’10’’ and weighed 150 pounds. If our society is claiming this size is plus size then what are we being told is ‘normal?’ Body Mass Index or BMI is a way to measure body fat based on height and weight and it assesses if individuals are at a healthy weight for their body height (obviously there are exceptions, as most athletes are considered to be out of range because of the increased muscle mass). This 5’10’’ 150 pound female has a BMI of 21.5, which is in her normal range of 18.5-24.9. It infuriated me to see a female that was within normal range, according to her BMI, be considered overweight.

I am 5’8’’ and weigh 175 pounds. I recognize that my size is not a normal size and is a bit extreme because of my sport, but I would hate for young woman or a female athlete to be looking at that same magazine and feel inadequate because they will never look ‘normal’ according to these images. In today’s society 5’10’’ and 95 pounds is considered to be an averaged sized model.  This is an unrealistic size for any healthy female to attempt to be. I have learned over the years that in order for me to be successful in my sport I have to be this size even if it is unorthodox and I hope that other females can follow suite.

This exact same day I went to the Boys and Girls Club where the project of the day was for the kids to imagine what super power they would have and to draw themselves as the super hero. Ironically, one of the girls, Niya, created herself as ‘Flex Girl.'  Flex Girl helps people out of trouble by flexing her strong muscles. I asked Niya where she got the idea for her superpower.  She told me that she saw my muscles and thought it would be cool to be strong like me!  I was incredibly moved that I inspired Niya to look beyond the unhealthy 95 pound model seen in the magazine and show her that any body type is beautiful.  This interaction helped to further motivated me and to push me to dream big and work hard in weight room or on the track.  Not only for myself, but also for young girls like Niya.  Every pound of muscle I have on my body is a direct reflection of my hard work.  I am proud of the body I have created regardless of if it is 'normal' or if I will ever find jeans to fit over my quads! 

Until next time, I am off to the gym to keep my super powers in tact!

Sunday, August 1, 2010


The past three years I have been very fortunate to have two time Olympian and 2010 Gold Medalist, Curt Tomasevicz, as my training partner. He is one of the hardest workers I know and has not only pushed me in the weight room and the track, but he has taught me valuable lessons about our sport. His advice helped prepare me mentally for the ups and downs of the Olympic season. As long as I have known Curt, he has talked of his love for two things: the Chicago Cubs and the band Pearl Jam.  I really had no clue about either of these two things and have gradually over the years learned to appreciate and understand his infatuation. A couple years ago, Curt shared with me three dreams he wanted to fulfill in his lifetime. 1. Win an Olympic Gold Medal 2. Throw out the first pitch at Wrigley Field 3. Play his bass guitar with Pearl Jam (which was completed this summer with the help of a family friend).

After last season when he and his team, ‘The Night Train,’ won Gold at the 2009 World Championships, I determined that Curt had the accompliments for me to help make his second dream happen and the talent to make his first happen. I was on a mission. I was somehow going to make his first pitch at Wrigley Field happen.  After many discouraging emails and phone calls I recruited the help of my teammate and Chicago native, 2010 Olympian, Jamie Moriarty. I asked Jamie if he had any ideas of how I could make this happen and coincidentally he was trained by a coach that had connections with many of the Cubs players and even the owner! Jamie and I sat down and composed an email to Todd Ricketts, the owner of the Cubs, expressing why we thought Curt, a long time Cubs fan, would be a perfect candidate for throwing out the first pitch at one of the games. A few days after the Opening Ceremony Jamie got an email back from Todd confirming that Curt was going to have the opportunity to throw out a first pitch. We were ecstatic and felt like little kids waiting for Christmas as we held in our secret and waited until after the final Bobsled runs to tell our teammate what his future held.

                          Jamie, Curt and I on Wrigley Field

Last week Curt and I (and about 60 of Curt’s family and friends) traveled to Jamie’s hometown, Chicago, for the much anticipated first pitch. It was amazing to watch a grown man, on the pitchers mound, in front of thousands of fans, realize a childhood dream. It is easy as athletes to forget that we get the opportunity to do incredible things daily. Every one of us may not have the opportunity to complete all the things we want to do in our life before the age of 30, like Curt has done, but we have accomplished more than many have dreamed of doing. After seeing Curt accomplish his three dreams I have realized that really anything is possible. Anything. Whether it is throwing out a first pitch, playing with your favorite band, or even winning an Olympic Gold Medal. These dreams are all attainable, it is just up to us to find a way to make them happen.

Friday, July 16, 2010

This week at the Boys and Girls Club, the girls and I talked about goals. I was able to share with them my goals and how I came about fulfilling them. Each girl was to create a project about their goals and what they wanted to be when they grow up. My favorite drawing was a little girl who wants to be a ‘polsewoman’ (policewoman) when she grows up. This really touched my heart because someday when I ‘grow up’ this may be an avenue that I want to pursue. Her drawing was incredible and I really wish I would have had my camera that day, so I could share it will all of you. My hope is that each one of the girls will post their projects on their walls to remind themselves daily of the direction they want their lives to go.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Stars, stripes... and Fashion Shows?

I have worked at the Boys and Girls Club over a handful of times and have easily falling into Sarah’s old role as art teacher. It is really exciting to go the club each day and have my group of girls who know when I arrive it is art time. Last week our project was to make masks out of paper plates. After we finished our masks the girls were so creative they used fabric in the art room to make matching outfits. We proceeded to have the very first Boys and Girls fashion show. It was a lot of fun to see how excited the girls were to show off what they created to the rest of the club.

Friday, we learned about the Fourth of July and made wind socks for the girls to hang outside on the fourth of July. I enjoyed watching them create their projects and I limited to only using the colors red, white and blue. I tried to express how much pride come with these colors and was able to share part of my experience at the Olympics with them. Many of them were so excited that they included the Olympic rings on their projects.

As far as training goes, I am happy to report that I did not lose much strength by ‘living the dream’ the last few months and I am working towards getting my conditioning back. I am in my fourth week of training and happy that the first month is behind me. I can now focus on making gains rather than trying to limit my soreness so that I can function. It is still hard to stay motivated as it feels like big goals are so far away, but I lucky to have an amazing strength coach and teammates to push me through each day.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

ITA Summer Project

I am excited to finally start my summer project in Colorado Springs working with the Boys and Girls Club. Former ITA athlete, Sarah Groff, worked at this same location, so I know I have very big shoes to fill. I am looking forward it. Not only am I going to be working at the Boys and Girls club, but a friend and Women’s Wrestling World Team Member will be working with me. When I told her about my project she immediately jumped on board and wanted to do all she could to help out the youth in the Colorado Springs community as well. It was really amazing to me that just by talking about ITA and my project, I inspired someone else to volunteer. It will be fun to not only be working with the kids at the Boys and Girls Club, but also sharing the experience with a fellow athlete and friend.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Back To The Office...

After 3 months of being back home in Chico relaxing and sharing my Olympic story with local schools it is time to get down to business. I am now at my second home in Colorado Springs to begin training for the upcoming season. I have had a lot of fun the last few months allowing myself ‘rock star’ status. My definition of rock star status may be different than others, but to me it meant I was able to do the things I have not being able to in the past few years. This consisted of consuming whatever calories I wanted and eating as many burritos and cheese sticks as I could stand. I stayed up late, watched all my favorite T.V. shows and slept in as late as I wanted.

I have spent the last years so focused on one goal that I have not allowed myself to stray from my regimented plan. I have missed many events because the travel would affect my training. I have been sure to get as much rest as I could so my body could perform at the highest level possible. I ate foods that I enjoyed, but mostly used it as fuel. My days have been completely consumed by when I am going to train, what I am going to eat and how I am going to recover. I have done all of this because I love it and the chance to compete for Team USA is amazing, but there are times the sacrifice can be difficult. That is why I have been playing ‘catch up’ the last few months, but I am now finally ready to get back to work. I anticipate having a hard time walking after training in the next few days and weeks, but I sure enjoyed having no limitations the last few months.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

2010 Olympics!

This week Durham Intermediate School and Golden Hills School both had a school wide Olympics and I was invited to both of their Opening Ceremonies. I even received the same honor the great Wayne Gretzky received at the Opening Ceremony in Vancouver. I lit the Golden Hills Olympic torch! I felt like a little kid and kept thinking about the many times I have watched the Olympics on television and have seen the legendary Olympic torch light up. Thank you to both schools for allowing me to be apart of your Olympic experience.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The White House

I don’t care who you are or what you believe in, anytime there is an invitation to go to our nations Capital and meet our President it is a huge honor. Team USA 2010 received this honor a few weeks ago when we were given the opportunity to shake the hand of the man leading our country. My teammates and I felt like rock stars as we were bused onto The White House grounds with ease. We were able to wander freely around a portion of The White House and we were treated to homemade cookies and refreshments (I like to think the First Lady made these cookies for us earlier that morning). Because of the rain we were unable to assemble in the courtyard and listen to a speech President Obama had prepared for us, but each team was able to shake hands with the President, hug the First Lady and get our pictures taken. It was another amazing experience that I will be adding into my memory bank.
             2010 Olympic Bobsled and Skeleton Team with the Obamas

After our visit we were carted off to the Supreme Court where we were all treated to dinner, drinks and a short presentation honoring all the Olympic and Paralympic athletes. At the reception we met the Congressman of Nebraska, Adrian Smith who graciously volunteered to give a few of us a private tour of the US Capitol Building. I have been to the Capitol Building before, but it was very special to have our own after hour tour. The whole day was a lot of fun and huge honor. It was a great way to celebrate all of the hard work and dedication it took for each and every one of us to be in Vancouver.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


On April 9th I was invited to Durham Elementary to help celebrate their ‘Sports Day.’ I spoke to over 450 students and shared what I have learned throughout my Olympic journey. I also encouraged the students to create goals and be proactive in finding the avenues to pursue them. I have visited many Northern California schools while I have been in my hometown of Chico, but this was my very first assembly for the entire student body. I was a bit nervous, but was pleasantly greeted with signs and decorations, which helped to calm my nerves.
I really enjoy talking to these students, but sometimes I wonder if they are getting my message or if they are just anxiously waiting for me to sign an arm or a shirt or a shoe! A lot of the students had many interesting goals and things they want to be when they grow up including a bobsledder! I can only hope that they continue to fight for their dreams and understand anything is possible. After the assembly was complete I had a HUGE line of kids anxiously waiting for an autograph. I had one kid proudly tell me he waited in line for 45 minutes to get my autograph. I had another tell me that he was going to sell my autograph on ebay. I don’t think these kids realize that my signature is not worth anything, but it makes me feel special to know that my community backs me up and is excited about what I am doing.

Treasuring Letters Made With Love

I was finally able to visit Mrs. Forrester’s 2nd grade class at Mill Street School in Orland. I brought with me the incredible book her students made me compiled of complex questions and handmade drawings. I spoke with the students about the Olympics and was able to answer a question from each student from the letters they made me. It was a lot of fun for me to visit Mrs. Forrester’s class and see her in her element as I personally know her and her family. I competed many years of gymnastics with her daughter and have been supported by her family ever since. I can tell she is an amazing teacher and is very respected by the children in her class. It was great to see how Mrs. Forrester integrated my time at the Olympics with the 2nd grade curriculum. Thank you to Mill Street School and Mrs. Forrester for sharing your students with me.

Mission Specialist Clayton Anderson showing his Nebraska pride in orbit with my teammate, Curt's gold medal winning gloves, Larry the Cable Guy's t-shirt and a ball from the NCAA World Series in Omaha, Ne.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

3-2-1..... BLAST OFF

Throughout the past few weeks I have been presented with some amazing opportunities. One of which allowed me to travel to Florida to watch the space shuttle Discovery launch into space. Mission STS-131 launched from the Kennedy Space Center at 6:21a.m. on April 5, 2010 and I was 3 miles away (as close as you can be) to see and hear the incredible BOOM.

                                   Shuttle  Discovery in the Sky                          

My teammate, Curt, who was on the Gold Medal winning four man team, was asked by his fellow Nebraskan, Mission Specialist Clayton Anderson, to bring a piece of his victory into space. Curt gave Clayton the push gloves he was wearing on his Gold Medal run. His gloves are now orbiting in space approximately 17,000 mph, which makes our Olympic Bobsled speeds of 90-95mph look pathetic.

As I watched the Astronauts board the shuttle I thought about my teammates and I as we were preparing for the Olympics and boarding the plane to Vancouver. I am not saying our accomplishments are in the same realm as these incredible people risking their lives to help educate mankind, but there are some parallels. We have spent our lives preparing for minutes every four years, just as these astronauts have spent their lives working towards this launch. For these men and women this is a dream come true and that is something I can definitely relate to. And so, for two weeks, until Discovery lands safely back on the earth, Astronauts of Mission STS-131 will be experiencing their Olympics. Good Luck and come home safe!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mother Russia & The Room 8 Bears!

After coming home from the Olympics Bree and I received a call asking us to travel to Russia to help homologate, which means test the safety and structure of a new track near Moscow. How could we say no to a fully funded ‘Bobsled vacation?!’ We traveled to Russia with Annie O’Shea and Matt Antoine some of our skeleton teammates where we were treated to some Russian hospitality. Each day we went to the track, took two runs, gave the FIBT feedback on the track and then went on a new tour around Russia. We were fortunate enough to see some amazing churches, The Red Square, many historic museums, and other very interesting parts of Russia. The Russian Bobsled Federation was very excited to have us and other nations involved in the successful homologation of the track.
                                                     The start of the Bob track in Russia

After traveling almost 20 hours back to California I was able to stop by Miss Pavlos class at Baker Elementary in San Jose. I was inspired to visit her class after receiving an amazing letter from one of her students, Athena, while I was at the Olympics. Athena obviously spend many hours on the letter and picture that she sent to me, which included a Room 8 Bear penny for me to rub for good luck. Her letter was one of my favorites and was posted by my bed throughout the Olympics. I rubbed the penny she gave me for good luck each day before I went to the track. I was excited to finally meet her and tell her how much her thoughtful note meant to me. I shared my Olympic experience with her and her classmates and was surprised by her with flowers and a gold medal that she made for me. The students were very excited to meet me, but I do not think they fully realized how gratifying and exciting it is for me to be able to share knowledge I have learned throughout my life. I also met a student of Miss Pavlos, Erika, who enjoys dirt biking, so I was able to give her fellow ITA athlete Lea’s information on the Little Bellas group and the camp that is coming to Monterey. Thank you to Miss Pavlos and Athena! I had a great time meeting with your class and I hope to come back really soon.

                     Miss Pavlos Class: The Room 8 Bears!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Calling all Bobsled Fans!

I am very excited to announce that I have received the go ahead to extend my ITA project to Chico and Northern California. My project for the next few months will consist of visiting local schools and after school venues. I will be sharing my Olympic experiences and life lessons I have learned throughout my journey. It has been overwhelming the number of local students and teachers who have supported me through the Olympics and I am hoping to show my appreciation by giving back to them.  When I came home I was surprised by an incredible book filled with letters and drawings from Mrs. Forrester's  Mill Street School class in Orland.  I am really looking forward to visiting these students and answering all of their questions like if Bree and I are 'bestests friends'.

I have already gone to few schools and visited my old gym, Athlete Horizons, where I shared many stories with the young gymnasts. It was a lot of fun to talk to these girls, as I can tell how much they look up to me because I was once in their shoes. They were very interested in how I thought gymnastics has helped me as an athlete (after competing competitively until the age of 16) and of course wanted to know if I got scared bobsledding and how I overcame it. If my story was able to only resonate with one girl, I believe my visit was a success. I have received many requests, but if you want me to come your classroom or group please contact me at and I will do my best to make it happen. Thank you.

Students in Mrs. Weaver's  Little Chico Creek class cheering me on in Whistler

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Aftermath

To say the least, life has been crazy since the end of our race on February 24th. Bree and I had an incredible run and finished 5th in the world. I think we are both pretty satisfied with our result considering how difficult it was for our USA 3 sled to qualify for the Olympic games. Of course, a medal would have completely fulfilled the dream and getting so close only makes me hungry for more. Our teammates Elana and Erin won the bronze (congrats girls!) and our American team had three sleds in the top six, which is great for our program.

After the completion of our races Bree and I decided we were going to do everything possible to get the FULL Olympic experience. We attended the women’s gold medal hockey game, women’s figure skating, men’s hockey gold medal game and of course we watched Team Holcomb, our fourman bobsled team win gold! With all the Olympic festivities I was barely able to see my family and missed out on meeting Amory (ITA founder) and her family, which I can hopefully do sometime soon.

After the Closing Ceremony I flew home to Chico where I was greeted after a night of no sleep by fifty plus ‘fans’ and supporters from Chico and the Northstate. I was amazed how many people were there that I had never met, but who felt like they knew me by following my journey and living my dreams with me. I honestly did not realize the kind of affect I had over the people in my community. I thought I would come home and go on with life like it was before the Olympics, but my life is forever changed. I went to the post office the following day and Chicoans were coming up to me bursting with pride, shaking my hand and telling me thank you. I never would have thought that I would be getting thanked for following my goals and pursuing my dreams. It is ironic to me because I feel like I should be the one thanking each individual within our community that has helped me reach my goal.

                      My greeting at the airport  (photo from The Chico ER)


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Game Time!!

After a few exciting days of training we are ready to go. The sled is washed and waxed, the runners are polished and it is game time! I am as calm as one can be preparing for an Olympic event. A lot of reporters and friends have asked me if I am nervous and the honest answer is yes, but not anymore nervous than I have been for every race leading up to this point. The hard part is done. As Coach D (my college track coach) would say ‘the money is in the bank.’ I have put in the work. I have made the team and now it is our turn to cash in and do what we do best.. GO FAST! I will be representing all of the northstate and my country proudly tomorrow.

Thank you to everyone from my hometown of Chico, California and college UCDavis for all of your amazing support throughout my Olympic journey. I have received an overwhelming amount of encouragement from emails, phone calls and of course all the comments left by the 1,000 plus people who have joined a facebook group created in support of me! Lastly, thank you to my family for the love and support they have given me. I can honestly say without them I would not have been inspired to go for my goals and believe in my dreams. They are my biggest fans. I can not even anticipate the emotions I will feel seeing them here at the Olympic games waving our flag proudly in support of me.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Put me in Coach!

Waiting, watching…. waiting, celebrating…. waiting, feeling defeat…. waiting…

We start training in two days and it can not come fast enough for us. We have watched our fellow sliders, luge, go through a very difficult race having the starting position moved down after the tragic accident by Georgian luger. We have watched Shaun White put on an amazing gold medal performance in the half pipe and Lindsay Vonn winning gold in downhill and being disappointed with her finish in super combined. We have watched it all and we will continue to watch until the 20th when we finally start our first day of training. I can not wait to get back on the ice and especially this track. This track is the fastest in the world and one of the most fun (when done right). It is funny we are counting down the days until we get on the ice, but I am sure once it finally gets here time will fly by. Until then…. Good Luck to the skeleton sliders tonight and men’s bobsled on Saturday and Sunday. We will continue to watch and cheer on our teammates anxiously waiting for our turn to show the world what we can do.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Olympic Pin Craze

I decided since I am a rookie Olympian it is best for me to soak up the experience because who knows if I will ever get this once in a lifetime chance again. So, I am doing everything I can from pin collecting to playing Dance Dance Revolution with athletes from different countries. Pins are the currency here in the athlete village and around. The volunteers and spectators want all the best pins from all the different countries, but the athletes really have the advantage of getting these collectable pins. If you have an awesome pin people will do close to anything to get it. Who would have thought I would have gotten into pin trading and collecting? I think Grandma Betty would be proud and would probably tell me that someday these will go for a ton. I think she may have been wrong thinking that with the Cabbage Patch Dolls, but with these rare Olympic pins she might be right. I have traded countless pins with many countries and I am having a small competition with some of my teammates for who can get the best pins. The pins that are the most sought after are the pins from the smaller nations as they only have a limited number to give away. So far I have gotten of 30 pins from different nations including the ones I really wanted, Spain and Portugal. I was even lucky enough to get an exclusive ITA athlete Torin Koos pin! Ghana and Jamaica are next on the list of pins to get, so tomorrow I am going to search for some new friends (and pins).

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Just another day at the office...

Wow! The last few days have been exhausting, but some of the best of my life. After landing in Vancouver with my team we were scooped up and have gone non stop ever since. I have been given three bags of Ralph Lauren and Nike Team USA gear. I have signed countless autographs. I had my first ever press conference.  I have met Sandra Oh (from Greys Anatomy), Bonnie Blair, Picabo Street, Vice President Biden, Queen Latifah (who thinks I look like her girl Alicia…Keys that is) and the governator Arnold Schwarznegger. This is, of course, is not including the countless amazing athletes I have met and that I was honored to walk side by side in the Opening Ceremony.

 Rocking the new gear


I wish I could explain to every one of you what it is like to follow our flag into a stadium filled with over 60,000 people, but there are no words to describe the pride and honor I felt. I now know why many athletes have a hard time retiring and why we put in countless number of hours training and go through every up and down we do. That was all worth it. I would do everything again to be able to experience that minute over and over.

Vancouver Bound 2/10/2010

Bree and I woke up this morning like giddy little girls on Christmas day. We left from Park City, Utah at 4:30a.m. and started our trek to Vancouver. We did not even care about our lack of sleep or having to have a 3 hour lay over or even wearing our huge oversized Under Armour ‘Capitan American’ jackets. All that went through our minds was that we were on our way to realizing and living our dream. It was incredible. Everywhere we went in the airport people were asking our sport and wishing us luck and telling us thank you and how proud they were of us. I have never seen so many people bursting with pride and excitement. It really hit Bree and I when we boarded our second flight from San Francisco to Vancouver and the flight attendants announced us saying this is ‘our team.’ I think this is when I realized that we are not just here for ourselves we are here for our nation. We are now America’s team.

                           The Team getting off the plane in Vancouver!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Home Sweet Home

I am finally back ‘home’ or at least back in the states after two long grueling months in Europe racing and competing. I am so happy to be in sunny Chula Vista, California where I have been able to meet up with fellow ITA athlete Mike Hazle and get some recovery and training before heading out to Vancouver. I am incredibly content training in t-shirts and soaking up the sun after a long cold winter. It feels great to be back in the states and have a little down time before all the excitement that will be happening in the next few weeks. Being in Europe really makes me appreciate a lot of things we are fortunate enough to have in the states. I appreciate not having to drive a manual car everywhere and being able to eat the things I love. I hopped off the plane and the first place I went was to get a burrito, next was to get a Starbucks coffee and then some good ole California sushi. To say the least I stuffed my face as soon as I got back! I love the fact I can turn on the television and understand everything, I can pay for things with familiar money and turn on the radio and find music that I know. It is good to be back. God Bless America

Mike Hazle and I at the Chula Vista Olympic Training Center