Sunday, December 28, 2014

Onwards to 2015

I started off the year 2014 in Europe preparing for the second half of the bobsled World Cup season with the hopes of earning a spot on my second Olympic team.   Although I was disappointed not being selected for the team, I am looking forward to starting off 2015 with a new perspective on what is important in my life.  This year has been about as crazy as the Whistler bobsled track and has flown by just as fast.  I have gone through an enormous amount of change this year and I am thankful to be back in California close to my family.  I have enjoyed immersing myself into new experiences and taking on new challenges.   It has taken me some time to adapt to my post bobsled life and I am looking forward to the new adventures that 2015 will bring.

Sunday, November 30, 2014


Throughout my eight years of bobsled I was only able to spend Thanksgiving with my family once, so this year it felt like a rare treat to experience the family time that I previously sacrificed.  I appreciate more than ever the family members and friends who have supported my athletic career as well as coming to my aid throughout this transition to a new phase in my life.  In the past it has been difficult to miss out on family events and as my priorities shift, so has the importance of attending. 

Sitting around the television with my family watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade this year reminded me of the many times we had done that when we were kids.  When I was a little girl I use to get up early each Thanksgiving morning, so that I could watch the parade and help my dad stuff and sew up the turkey.  I loved being his assistant and following his meticulous surgical stitches as we tightly sewed the turkey closed.  I could never quite figure out how people who didn’t have a surgeon in the family could adequately keep the stuffing in the turkey cavity. 

Each Thanksgiving my dad and I were in charge of cooking the turkey, a job we both took very seriously.   I would patiently wait for our turkey to be cooked, so I could be first to try our golden brown work of art.  On a daily basis my dad has limited cooking expertise, but during Thanksgiving the turkey was always his domain.  I could see him beam as we pulled the turkey out and began to carve off each succulent piece.  Although our turkey responsibilities have changed over the year we are now able to create new memories with our growing family.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Rugby Weekend

This past weekend I was able to experience rugby in many different lights.   First, I attended a rugby gala which celebrated 75 years of rugby in the bay area.  I was able to hear about the numerous clubs rooted in the bay area along with learning about the history and growth of rugby throughout the United States.  The room was filled with many retired male athletes, but it was also nice to see women’s clubs represented and experience the expansion of rugby.  Rugby is like no sport I have ever been a part of.  Even if athletes are foes on the field there is a common understanding and a level of respect for the game between players.

 Next, I traveled a college rugby sevens tournament to cheer on many of the graduated high school lady Cavaliers who are now playing on college teams.  Many of these girls expressed concerns last spring about transitioning to college, so it was fun to see them settling right in and earning starting roles on their respective teams.   Additionally, I have been playing a small coaching role with the Cal’s rugby team and was able to see the hard work the ladies put in each and every week pay off with the tournament victory. 

Lastly, the Lady Cavaliers High School Rugby Club had their first official practice today!  It was exciting to see many new faces interested in learning and competing in rugby.  I am always super impressed with how accepting and positive the team is when it comes to making new players feel comfortable.  I for one can attest to the fact that trying a new sport at any age takes courage, so I was proud of each young lady who put the effort in today to try something new. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Lady Cavs Rummage Sale!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

My Sister The Super Hero!

My sister Amber has always been my hero, but it was not until lately that I learned she is also a super hero!  Amber is an AP Calculus teacher at Amador High in Pleasanton, California and in addition to molding young mathematical minds she runs the leadership program at the high school.  She oversees students who are responsible for literally ever activity that runs at the school which includes homecoming, prom, rallies, and every aspect involved in planning these events.  When I was in high school I always knew that my teachers were important, but it wasn’t until now that I realized that a teacher’s job does not stop when the bell rings.

 I am amazed by the commitment my sister has for her job and students.   She is determined to not only teach children math, but strives to have them understand the information.  She continually holds extra class hours so that her students fully understand the lessons and tutors students after school.  In addition to all of her math commitments she spends countless extra hours making sure ever school event runs without a hitch.  I do not know how she is able to do it all with so much ease and grace.  After watching the amount she does for her students I can guarantee she is not only my hero, but is the hero of hundreds of others.
Check out the Lip Dub, Amber and her students created which includes EVERYONE in the student body!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Voting Rights

Last week I was sitting in a coffee shop when I overheard two young women discussing voting.  They were both not registered to vote and had decided that their votes did not matter anyways.  It was clear they didn’t know our history and the close ties voting rights in the United States have to our freedom.  When I turned 18 I registered to vote, but in the past my voting habits have been inconsistent.  It was not until recently I understood the importance of civic engagement.   

Voting rights have progressed a great deal since the creation of the Constitution in 1787.  Initially, only ‘free whites’ had the ability to vote and it was not until 1870 and the passing of 15th Amendment that voting standards began to shift.  The 15th Amendment does not allow denial of the right to vote based “on account of race, color or previous conditions of servitude” which began to expand the diversity of the voting population.  The 15th Amendment broke down huge barriers when it came to voting rights however, discrimination based on sex still remained.  It was not until 50 years later in 1920 the 19th Amendment was created which stated that “citizens could not be denied the right to vote on the account of sex.”  Later, in 1965 the Voting Rights Act was constructed and signed by President Lyndon Johnston.  The Voting Rights Act was created to enforce the 15th Amendment and to take down state wide barriers which were infringing on the right to vote.

Our history tells us that voting rights has been a constant fight, which many having given their lives for.  Several Americans today do not register to vote or do not take voting seriously.  It seems Americans have forgotten the importance and the significance of the battles historically that I have allowed us this right.  I have learned that voting is more than a right, it is our responsibility.  So, the next time I hear Americans discussing how little value voting has I will take the opportunity to share our history and the importance of participating in democracy. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Rugby Family

This past year I was welcomed with open arms to the rugby family.  Rugby is a tight knit community with an incredible sense of loyalty, camaraderie and connections.  I have never been a part of a sport where you physical bruise your opponent and after attend social gatherings together.   I was amazed by each athletes willingness and excitement to share their sport with newcomers.  This week the Lady Cavaliers welcomed in a few new members to their National Championship squad.  I was impressed that the veteran high school girls did not shy away from the rugby culture and were immediately volunteering to assist the new athletes.  I am looking forward to continuing to improve my rugby knowledge and watching these young women grow as leaders and players throughout the year.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Life on Parole

Recently I just finished an Administration of Justice course where we discussed the release of criminals into society or what is commonly known as parole.  New York was the first state to develop parole and has set a precedent that many states continue to follow today.  Parole releases offenders back into society after a parole board determines they have rehabilitated from the convicted crime or their determinate sentence is complete.  For the most part prisoners are released prior to serving the entire prison sentence.

As you are reading this you may wonder why I am discussing parole.  I have never been in jail or committed a crime, but when we touched on the concept of parole I could strongly relate.  Often times parolees struggle reentering into society upon release from prison.  Simple task can become incredibly overwhelming and a solid support system is often lacking.  Many times offenders will fall back into committing crimes simply so that they can return to the comfortable structure prison provides.

Although I clearly did not have my freedoms taken away and I made the choice to live in a controlled environment I can identify with the issues faced with a complete change in lifestyle.  Sticking to a regimented schedule and living a disciplined lifestyle at Olympic Training Center has made it difficult for me to transition back into a ‘normal’ functioning society.  I feel very fortunate that I have a supportive and understanding family.  I also have weekly check ins with my current make shift ‘parole officer’ that has helped me to find some direction.  I am hopeful that this transition will help for me to be empathetic with whatever career path I choose.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

New Beginnings

Tomorrow marks the day that many students will begin a new school year.  With each new year comes different challenges but also new adventures.  I was always anxious at the beginning of each school year and especially nervous when it came to the years that I was changing schools and entering a different echelon.  When I went to college there were a lot of changes in my life.  I moved to a new town and was required to build new friendships and learn a new style of living.  As excited as I was to move away from my parents and to be independent I was overwhelmed by the many differences in my life.  As I enter a new phase in my life I am reminded of those times.

Throughout my academic years I had many amazing teachers that helped me to stay on the correct path and mentor me along the way.  Now that I am living with my sister, who is a teacher , I see firsthand how much effort she puts in.  She spends countless hours being sure that each student understands what she is teaching and goes above and beyond what is required of her.  Her students are very lucky to have her as a mentor as they develop in their lives. 

So best of luck to all the teachers and students who are starting a new school year!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

All Blues take home Bronze at Nationals!

Almost exactly a year ago I was participating in Bobsled National Push Championships.  This was the first step towards the 2014 Olympic Team and it was imperative for me to do well in order to have an opportunity to showcase myself throughout the season.  Every athlete participating understood the importance of this event.  I was proud of my result last year although I knew I still had a long road ahead of me.  I would have never thought a year later I would find myself competing in Rugby National Championships

After my name was not announced on the 2014 Olympic roster I put one foot in front of the other and eventually made my way to Budapest, Hungary.  Two fencers I had trained with throughout the summer had a training camp in Hungary and allowed me to stay with them.  I followed them to training and explored every aspect the country had to offer.  They were patient and understanding and allowed me to bounce ideas off them.  We talked about what I would do next with my life and the different sports I would like to try as I transitioned out of athlete life.  Ironically that same day we were at the gym training and I was approached by a girl who asked me if I played rugby.  The very next day she brought me to practice and for those two weeks I became a Budapest Exile.  I was given small insight into what the sport had to offer and I immediately fell in love with the camaraderie and culture of the sport.  I knew this was something I wanted to explore and learn when I made my way home. 
After practice with the Budapest Exiles Feb. 2014

Rugby is a much more difficult and complex sport than I had ever anticipated.  I enjoy challenging myself and learning how to have fun again.  Although I have only been playing for a few months I am slowly starting to understand the game and have already met some amazing people.  I am thankful to my teammates for patiently teaching me the ins and out of the sport and I am proud to have helped the Berkeley All Blues come home with a 3rd place result at Rugby Sevens National Championships!   

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Lady Cavs in Action!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Dr. Dad

Growing up in a family of four athletic girls it was always nice when we got injured to have a doctor in the family.   I think we may have taken it for granted when we sprained an ankle to have an immediate diagnosis and a plethora of braces and ace bandages.  We have all been through numerous injuries and so have many of our teammates.   Our Dr. Dad has always been there to not only help alleviate our pain but also any of our teammates that needed assistance.   Still to this day our dad is always willing to come to the rescue with any aches and pains we may have.

My favorite part of my dad's profession was his 'team doc' status at Chico State.   I remember feeling untouchable as my dad flashed his team doc badge and we were quickly ushered into football games. I loved going to football games with my dad.   I felt so special as I sat on the sideline with him and watched him work.  My sister and I would sit on the bench and giggle as watched the athletes spit and our jaws would drop when we heard them cuss.  This was a fun experience I vividly remember.  

For show and tell my dad would come to class and and put a cast on each of us.  He would patiently explain the casting process and how this fixed broken bones.  We had all our classmates sign a message on our cast.  We had the best show and tell in the school! 

No matter what the issue our Dr. Dad is our super hero and has always been there for us in our time of need. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Ben and Ashley Azevedo

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Try try try again...

In rugby when a player scores it is called a ‘try.’  It seems a very fitting name as it usually takes multiple attempts to put points on the board.  The team has to work together, passing the ball, creating holes and gaps in the defense, so that a player can hopefully sneak through and score.  Many times players will be knocked off their feet and get a mouth full of grass as the team works towards a try.  When this happens it is important you can trust you have teammates to protect you and the ball.  If you do not have ‘friends’ with you the ball could be turned over and the other team has major scoring potential. 

Many times you have to attempt different options in life and mark different ideas off your list before you are able to reach the back of the try zone and ‘score.’  I am finding it more difficult than I had expected to narrow down the many career options life has handed me.  As a friend told me you have to turn over ever puzzle piece before starting to connect and put the puzzle together.  I can truly identify with that.  I work diligently towards turning over my pieces one by one so that I can find what fits together. 

As in Rugby it is important to have a team with you for support and protection when life knocks you down.  Treading murky waters alone can be difficult and will not have the end result desired.  It is a lot less difficult when support is swimming alongside of you and encouraging you at each stop.   I may not know what exactly I want to do next, but for now I am enjoying seeing the try zone and running as fast as I can to get there.  Sometimes I reach it, but the times I don’t I know I can trust that my team will be there to back me.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Congratulations to the National Champion Lady Cavaliers!

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Monday, May 19, 2014

How We Bean


In 2010 I was fortunate enough to join the likes of Amory Rowe and In The Arena.  It has been exciting to watch to the nonprofit grow and to now be partnered with L.L.  Bean.  The values the of the company fit nicely with the core of what In The Arena and all the athlete mentors stand for.
After receiving my new L.L. Bean tote I started to think about how my life has drastically changed over the last few months and how the items I carry have shifted.  I have ditched my helmet and traded my bobsled spikes for cleats.  The transition from bobsled brakeman to rugby rookie has been difficult, but enlightening.  Instead of heading to the Boys and Girls club, I now put my rugby ball in my L.L Bean tote and head to my new ITA project working with the high school rugby National Champions.  I try to be an example to them and hope they understand it is important to make the best out of every situation. 

I have also added school books into my L.L. Bean tote.  Along with all the changes in my life I am working towards narrowing down the career choices that interest me and taking a few classes seems to be the perfect way to do that. I keep a notebook with me to write down progress and contacts that I have made each day.    

In addition to the physical items in my L.L Bean tote bag I also have the things that I stand for and who I am.  My tote is sewn and stitched with my core values of integrity, honesty and courage.  No matter how the contents may change in the upcoming weeks, months and years these values will forever be ingrained in the fabric of my bag.

Monday, April 21, 2014

From Veteran to Rookie

I couldn’t help but laugh as I jogged out on the field to bring water bottles to my new teammates.  Here I was coming off what could have been considered my best bobsled season and instead of being at the Olympic Games I was running water out onto a Rugby pitch.  I was three days into my new found rugby experience and was already learning to put my ego aside and be patient with myself.   I have been considered a veteran in the sport of bobsled after an eight year career, but now here I am starting back at ground zero and being called a rookie, a word that I have not been called for close to a decade.  A rookie in rugby and what feels like a rookie in my new life.

I have beat myself up literally and figuratively over the past few months.  I now work on taking each day as an opportunity to find out what I want to do next.  And I try to take each practice as a learning experience.  I often find myself getting wrapped up in the idea of how I ‘should’ be doing instead of slowly enjoying the experience.  It is interesting how much sports can parallel life.  I can become overwhelmed with the idea of what I want to do with my life rather than being patient with the process and taking things one step at a time.  It is 100 percent the same in rugby.  This is a brand new sport that I have never been involved in, so regardless of anything I have accomplished in track and field or in bobsled I am a rookie.  I can, however, transfer over the athletic skills I have learned from 28 years of sports to help me progress just as I can use the contacts I have created to jumpstart my next life plan.

For now I am going to enjoy performing my rookie skits, completing my rookie ‘duties’ and you better believe if I am asked to run water out on the field I will be sure to get it there the fastest!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

OC Tanner Inspiriation Nomination by Curt Tomasevicz


I met Emily Azevedo in 2006. She had joined the women’s bobsled team and was competing on the World Cup circuit in her first year. I had taken the first half of the season off after the 2006 Olympics to finish my graduate degree. So when I met up with the team, Emily had already proven that she had the potential to make the 2010 Olympic team. But she was going to need to gain a lot of strength and learn better push technique to become an Olympic brakeman.

She and I started working with Jon Carlock, a strength and conditioning coach with the USOC. Because we had similar workouts and the same schedules, we started working together in the weight room as well as on the running track. We found that we pushed each other and cheered one another on despite not exactly lifting the same amount of weights or having the same sprint times. I would see her strain and stretch her limits every day and I would have no choice but to do the same. I had been on the National Bobsled Team for three years, but I made my biggest gains during that first off-season training with Emily.

Naturally, because we spent up to 6 hours a day training together, we became great friends, too. Living at the Olympic Training Center, we shared a schedule of meals, sports medicine, and training times. We became—as much as an independent guy like me hates to admit—inseparable.
That next bobsled season was a big year for both of us. It was the second year of the 4 year Olympic cycle and it was important to establish a good position on our respective teams in order to be named to the 2010 Team. That year I was promoted to USA 1 and Emily raced consistently throughout the season and definitely earned the respect of the other girls already on the team. Both accomplishments were considered successful for each of us.

The next three summers in Colorado Springs were some of my best memories while training for bobsled. There were days that I could barely walk back to my dorm room because she and I pushed each other so hard doing squats and sprints. Looking back, those were the days that made the difference for both of us.

On January 17, 2010, the Vancouver Olympic team was announced. I have to admit I was more thrilled when they announced Emily’s name, than when they said my own. I had been to the 2006 Olympics already and I was more secure with my spot on the 2010 team. But Emily had to battle every day that season with three other girls for the final spot on the team. She had zero down time and was always being tested. She burst into tears immediately and I was sure to video record her as she called her parents and family after the announcement.

I walked into the Opening ceremonies next to her and my teammates, one of the happiest days of my life. I was able to win a gold medal at those Olympics and she and her teammate Bree Schaaf surprised the bobsled world by almost winning a medal, finishing 5th.

I have continued to train with Emily for the past Olympic quad as well. We both felt we could prove more in the 2014 Olympics in Russia. Again, every day for the past 4 years, we trained side by side. Some days were good and we would both put up some impressive numbers. But some days weren’t so optimistic and we felt that we wouldn’t reach our goals. Those were the days that we needed each other the most.  I would see her fight and strain to last through workouts. And that would give me the strength to do the same. We encouraged each other through injuries, even surgeries. And we are both stronger and faster now because of it.

So as thrilled as I was when I saw her reaction to making the 2010 team, I was twice as mortified when they didn’t call her name for the 2014 Olympics. As much as I disagree with the decision, the selection committee decided to go with another female athlete. There were tears again this time, but for a different reason. I would be going to Sochi without my training partner and best friend.
It will take time to understand that, despite the end goal not being reached, I don’t regret one day of training with Emily. The sweat, pain, and daily soreness were no match for the fun, laughter, and friendship that we have now. She has pushed me to not only to be the athlete I am (a 3x Olympian) but I have enjoyed each day along the way.

Everyone who has worked with us throughout our careers including teammates, sports med staff, coaches, dining hall staff, and especially Jon will tell you that they probably couldn’t picture one of us without the other. We’ve been compared to a more recent Dan Jansen and Bonnie Blair. When I retire from the sport, I’ll miss those training days with Emily more than anything.

She has truly inspired me daily to be the best I can be at the 2014 Olympics.


Monday, March 24, 2014

It Takes Courage

What is courage?  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines courage as ‘the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous.’  There is a large variance of what different people think to be difficult on a daily basis.  For some it takes courage to just get out of the bed in the morning and for others it can be as brave as walking away from one life to start new.   Throughout the past few weeks I have worked hard to be as courageous as possible each and every day. 

For me some tasks have been simple and some have been grand.  I signed up for a social media sight for business professionals despite being a bit social media phobic.  I dusted off my high school soccer cleats, met new teammates and headed out to my first rugby game while still being fairly clueless about the game.  I have picked up the phone and called strangers to get advice to help make decisions on my future career.  All these things have forced me out of my comfort zone and to me that is courage.  

 Literally everything in my life is changing and often time’s simple tasks seem overwhelming and daunting.   I have lived in a Training Center for the last eight and with that I have been fortunate to have prepared meals, cleaned bathroom, and many other amenities that have made my life as easy as possible.  As much as I have enjoyed everything that was offered to me at the Training Center I am now left needing to learn simple task like grocery shopping over again.   I am gradually learning to find excitement in each days new adventure and am working hard to take everything step by step. 

Being courageous can be life changing and I believe will ultimately lead to true happiness and success.  I know that each day I am able to leave my comfort zone will help me to find where I am supposed to be and what I am supposed to do.  I challenge you to find your own courage today and do something that is difficult for you and see how it may change your life.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Throughout the past month I have literally traveled around the world including a 30 hour travel ‘day.’  I have been very fortunate that in each place I’ve gone I have had friends to explore with and stay with.  I have a teammate who teases me because I have been able to meet so many people over the years.  She says it is my gift and explains she sees my love for the sport through the friends I have made.  I had never thought of it this way until recently.

Ironically when I was younger my mom seemed to always worry about me and my inability to branch out and make more than one friend.  I remember her sitting me down and having talks with me about how important it was to have more than one close friend.  I constantly disregarded her urge for me to make more friends.  Now, as I reflect back on my years of bobsled and the friends I made I am so thankful that my mom taught me the importance of keeping good people in my life. 
In each place I have gone I not only have had a place to sleep, but also friends who are willing to do anything they can to support me and to be sure I am happy.  My friends on my ‘tour’ have cried with me, eaten with me, skied with me, thrown up in helicopters with me, eaten more with me, snorkeled with me, sipped latte macchiato’s with me and danced until the sun came up with me.  No matter what things I have missed out on throughout the last month I have gained more experiences than I ever thought possible.  I have been told a time or two that it is not about the end point, but more about the journey.  There are many things on my recent journey that I have grown to appreciate (of course puking in a helicopter is an experience I could I have gone without).   No medal can compare to the people I have met and the places I have seen.  

I have been surrounded by some of the most caring people.  I have met complete strangers who are willing to not only accept me and befriend me, but have gone out of their way to include me and protect me.  I will forever be thankful for the generosity I have experienced and the friends I have made.  I guess as it works with everything it always goes back to the lessons we are taught when we are children.  I was taught to respect myself and others and maybe most importantly I learned the necessity of friends.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

No Snow Pants Needed

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Angels Amongst Us

I believe we have Angels that live amongst us.  We rub shoulders with them and breathe the same air without even knowing it.  This was something I truthfully have never thought about until recently.  I cannot say the past few weeks have been some of the best weeks of my life, but I have had the chance to realize people are put in your life at a certain time for a certain reason.

On January 19th the decision was made that I would not be competing on the 2014 Olympic Team.  I always knew this was a possibility, but believed I did whatever I could to earn a spot.  The next day I left the team, hopped on a train and made my way to a friend’s house in Switzerland.  I was still in a great deal of shock.  I was confused and questioning if I had made the right decision.  I did not know what to do and where exactly to go.  I was now alone.  I made my way to the train and probably didn’t move for the first hour of the trip.  My mind was racing and I still could not put together everything that had just happened only a few hours before.  I could not feel anything.  I felt numb.  It was something I do not think I have ever felt before and therefore did not have a remedy.  

I was approached by a man on the train who asked if I was okay and if I wanted to get a coffee and talk.  He told me he could see sadness in my eyes and wanted to help.  I was polite, but made it clear I preferred to be left alone.  I continued to sit in the same place for the next hour.  He tried again and now was talking at me as I politely tried to ignore him, but he persisted.   I reluctantly succumbed and went with him to get a coffee.  We sat and chatted for a minute or two as he continued on to tell me a story in his own life.  He could tell I had no interest in sharing my own story with a total stranger but easily shared hardships he had gone through.  He said he tried to start each day with a smile and then moved forward from there. 

The trip was about over so I made my way back to my seat, still feeling like I was just going through the motions to make my next move.  As I got off the train there he was waiting for me.  He took a small key chain out of his pocket and handed it to me.  He gave me a hug and told me that tomorrow would be brighter and that it would bring me luck.  I will never see him again, but on that day and that moment he gave me hope, which made a huge difference.  Someday I would like to return this favor to someone going through a tough time.  I am thankful on that day I met an Angel. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

New Adventures

Skiing with Friends - 2014
My family and I would ski ever spring break when I was younger.  It was some of my most favorite times.  My sister and I would take the week to explore the mountain and find the best possible jumps.  We would pick up speed and fly through the air until we gracefully or sometimes not so gracefully landed on our feet.  I felt fearless and free.

Because I have been involved in competitive sports for so long the last time I went skiing I was when I was a teenager.  I decided it was time to get back on the horse (or skis) and give it a shot.  I was not sure if my brain would still be able to connect with my body and remember how to glide down the powdery slope.  I started off a bit slow and cautious.  I was afraid of falling or making a mistake, but by then end of the day things started to come back to me.  Instead of feeling like a toddler learning how to walk for the first time, I was free again like I was when I was a teenager. 

As we drove home I realized that my day on the slopes parallels with the turns that my life will soon take.  Yes, it will be scary at first and I am sure there will be plenty mistakes, but as time goes by I will find my way ,just as I found my way down the mountain.  The landing may not always be a perfect one, but I will always find a way to land back on my feet.

Azevedo Ski Team- 1994


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunny St. Mortiz

Bree and I looked at each other before our second run in St. Mortiz with confidence and a hint of fear.  We knew that this was it.  It all came down this run.  We had fought all season to do something even our coaches had deemed impossible; earn a third sled at the Olympic Games.  All we had to do was stay on the shiny side of the runners and get down the track and that is just what we did.  It was not the greatest run, but it was enough.  As soon as we crossed the line I welled up and could not hold the tears back.  Bree being the competitor she is instead was concerned about our finish, the down time of the run and what place we were in.  It took her a few minutes to understand she, in fact was going to the Olympic Games.  Later that night after our selection committee met to decide the best three brakemen for the Olympics I was also selected.  The tears kept flowing when I called my parents and sisters and told them the news.  I cannot describe the relief I felt when my name was announced.  It was a long fought season, but something Bree and I always believed we could do.   We decided it was going to happen and we found a way to make it a reality. 

All odds were staked against.  It was a simple David vs. Goliath task.  Bree had to not only complete all the European tracks, which she had never been on, she had to be successful on these tracks.  I also had a major task on my hands of proving that I was the best brakeman for the job.  This was no easy task with the pool of talented athletes that there was to choose from.  Somehow, some way we did it. 

This week I am back in St. Mortiz, Switzerland four years later in a similar situation.  Racing and fighting hard to earn a spot on the 2014 Olympic Team.  I can not help but think about all the memories here in St. Mortiz.  This is the place my career began.  During my first season it was in St. Moritz I pushed Erin Pac to an 8th place finish in World Championships.  It was my first real bobsled experience and ultimately what got me hooked.   The respect for the sport and the deep rooted history this place exudes only leaves me wanting more each time I am here.  If I have learned one thing from bobsled it is to never give up and being here reminds me of the that sentiment and what it can lead to.  

Bree and I after the Olympic Team was selected in St. Mortiz 2010