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

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


The moment my dreams were realized was probably one of the most incredible moments in my life. I was not positive things would go my way this year and I knew if I were to make the 2010 Olympic Team I would have to do so fighting my way on it. I can not explain the overwhelming feeling of relief when my name was announced on the roster. My coach thought that I didn’t hear things correctly because I was so quick to leave the meeting to call my family, who has been amazing this year dealing and feeling every emotion along with me. The number of people it took for me to get to where I am today is too many to count. My mom said it best when she said ‘Emily you have been training for this your whole life.’ I never thought of it this way, but she is right. From gymnastics to college track, all my coaches have taught life lessons that have prepared me to take on the challenge of working toward such a huge goal.

I was sitting at breakfast with a few of my teammates this morning and we were talking about how many people we thought it took for a person to go from an elite athlete to an Olympian. There are people in my daily life, coaches, sports medicine, my friends and teammates that have helped me. Then there are the many many supporters in my home town, Chico, as well as my college, UCDavis, the staff at the Training Centers and this is not even including the many people that don’t directly know me who have been sending me prayers and thoughts. My older sister informed me the other day that the entire town of Pleasanton, California, where she is a teacher, is behind me. This journey is not something that I have done on my own and I would never be where I am without the constant support and enthusiasm from people all over the nation. Thank you to everyone who has been on the journey with me and to everyone who has touched my life. You are the reason I get the opportunity to wear our flag proudly.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Olympic Spirit

I wanted to share a touching story with all of you of someone who truly embraces the Olympic Spirit.

We have reached a point in our Bobsled world where every single person on our team is thinking about one person... themselves. Everyone is focused on how they will make the team and is busy calculating the next move. There is one exception on our team. One of my teammates worked just as hard as I did in the off season and had just as much hope of going to Vancouver as myself, but she ran into some unfortunate luck with race offs and subsequently has been placed on the bottom of the totem pole. I am well aware of how hard it is to be in the position every week watching other teammates be successful and not getting any appreciation for your contributions to the team. She could have easily been frustrated and angry with the spot she is stuck in, but instead has volunteered every week to slide the first runs on new tracks with Bree (being crashed 3 times this year) and has done everything she can to help our team out (she even learned how to drive a stick so she could help drive our sled trucks all over Europe). She has done everything she can to help Team USA be better this year.

We are each allowed to send a page to the Olympic selection committee of why we should be the one to be selected for the team. It is a way for us each to get a chance to speak our peace and explain our side. I was discussing my page with this teammate of mine when she informed me that I was going to have one up on everyone. I was going to have two pages written for me. She then proceeded to tell me that she was going to write her page for me. She felt I earned the spot this year and that I deserved it and she was going to write her page on my behalf. I have never been so touched in my life. In a sport I have never felt appreciated, I just received the greatest honor; respect. She could have easily wrote this for herself and told everyone about how she got screwed or what she did to earn it, but instead she selflessly wrote her nominee for me.

In a time where I have felt like our sport lacks integrity, I am shown what it truly means to have the Olympic spirit by a simple selfless gesture.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Blogging for Dummies

When I heard I would be writing a blog upon my acceptance into In the Arena I found it a bit humorous.  I am, to say the least, not the most technically savvy person, so the thought of something like a blog is pretty intimidating.  To be honest, I only found out what a blog was just recently.  I am the girl that can barely figure out how to use her berry-less cell phone and gets made fun of by teammates for not knowing what Twitter is and how Facebook works. I am pretty confident my 80-year old grandma has more technical knowledge then I do.  I am proud to say I at least finally figured out how to work almost all the functions of my iPod and that was mostly thanks to my younger sister and "iPods for Dummies."  So, I guess it is time to get up with the times and figure out how to make this blog happen.

Before we get started on our internet relationship, allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Emily Azevedo and I am currently a brakeman or I guess technically a brakewoman on the U.S National Bobsled team.  Now, I realize as soon as you read the word bobsled a million questions come to mind, so allow me to answer them so we can move forward with our cyber-connection.  Yes, bobsled is in fact the sport in which you see the Jamaicans competing in the Disney movie "Cool Runnings." And yes, in fact, I have seen the movie and also own it, but sadly to say I am not Jamaican.

I became involved in the sport in 2006 after watching the Olympic Games with my college roommates at the University of California, Davis.  I had just graduated from college and was not sure of my next step in life.  I was done with my collegiate track career and long story short thought that bobsled would be a great way to put off the real world while getting a chance to compete for Team USA.  Of course I told my parents I thought it would help me make some connections for jobs, and that I just wanted to try it out.  I was sure there would be a way to utilize my Exercise Biology degree bobsledding, right?  It took my mom a few years to stop leaving newspaper clippings of potential jobs on my desk, but I think she has finally come to terms with the ‘career’ I have chosen (of course career is used VERY loosely as most people with careers get paychecks).  I have crashed.  In fact I have crashed many times and some by my own doing attempting to drive.  The fastest track in the world is currently the new Olympic track in Whistler, where four-man sleds were clocked at 95mph.

So, now that we have gotten to know each other a little better and you have been given the crash (not a word we like to use much in the bobsled) course on my sport I am confident we will be able to move forward as I begin to learn the ins and outs of the internet blogging world. Maybe I will go find "Blogging for Dummies" for the next time.