Saturday, January 29, 2011

We're (almost) Back Baby!

Okay so maybe it was not the epic come back tale we had hoped for. You know the one where we come back in full force and win the race after a two week hiatus filled with surgery and nasty Austrian roommates? I think as athletes we always shoot for a victory and are often disappointed with anything less. Bree and I always go into any race thinking we are going to win. I have learned that if you don’t have confidence in yourself and in your teammate then you have no chance of being successful. We had thought that we could just pick up where we left off over a month ago and work ourselves back up the standings. Some may say our expectations were too high and not realistic (both our mothers would agree with this statement after we freaked them out with the chaos over the last few weeks), but we are competitors and we want more than to be average. We want to win.

It didn’t really hit us until after our first run that we are extremely lucky to be sliding this race together and it is an incredible feat for Bree to be pushing a bobsled and navigating our sled 80mph plus down an icy hill just weeks after being rushed the hospital for a less than routine procedure. As she said today to the media “we are lucky to be here.” I honestly can not imagine how scary it was for her to be heading into surgery in a foreign country with no family or friends in sight. It really showed me how strong and brave Bree is. I admire that she can still maintain a positive attitude after everything she has gone through the past few weeks and is such a competitor that she couldn’t wait to get back in the sled and do what we do best; race. I am excited to see what the future has in store for us as we work our way back and prepare for World Championships in three weeks. I am sure there were plenty of people who doubted Bree and I would be back to race Worlds, but we will be there, minus one appendix proving them wrong and ready to make Team USA proud.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Life happens...

I am currently in Igls, Austria one of my more favorite stops on our World Cup tour. Last year, this race was our last race before the Olympics and was the week after our 2010 Olympic Team was announced. Needless to say we had all let our guards down after an incredibly intense year fighting for an Olympic spot and we ALL got very ill. This may have been one of the worst bugs to spread throughout all the countries on the World Cup tour and sent many athletes to the hospital. It was a sickness that struck its victims late in the night, so every morning at breakfast we would look around and see who was missing. Fortunately this year, the sickness we called ‘death’ did not strike again, but we ran into yet another health problem here in Igls. Bree and I came to Europe after a relaxing Christmas break ready to maintain our third place overall World Cup rank, but unfortunately Bree’s appendix was not on the same page! Tuesday night Bree was brought to the hospital and immediately sent into emergency surgery to remove her appendix. Luckily, it was taken out before it had ruptured and caused any more damage. She spent a few interesting nights in an Austrian hospital before we could spring her loose and bring her back to the hotel for some relaxation. Of course, we could not convince our medical staff to clear her for the weekend race or the next weeks race either, but I am glad to report that Bree is continuing to improve each day.

I was still able to have an opportunity to race with one of our rookie drivers and my Olympic teammate, Bronze Medalist Elana Meyers. It was a lot of fun to get in the back of her sled and help push her in her second ever World Cup as a driver. Shauna Rohbock piloted her sled to gold for Team USA, so it was great to have our team bring home a victory. Our team is now headed to Winterberg, Germany, but Bree and I are on ‘vacation’ in Igls as she continues to recover. We will head to St. Moritz, Switzerland soon and prepare for the upcoming World Cup, but for now we will be here appreciating the things, like health, we often take for granted.