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!