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