Sunday, July 24, 2016

Warrior IG

I have always been very proud to have earned the title of Olympian.  It is an honor and something I have taken very seriously.  I believe an Olympian must carry themselves a certain way and continue to live life embodying the Olympic ideals even beyond sport.  I represented my country and I find it important to continue to make my supporters proud of the person I have become.  I have tried to live my life with integrity, respecting the Olympic Rings and the Olympic movement.  

Many athletes have done everything right, trained hard, lived a life of honesty and purity, but are not recognized.  My teammate Irene Gardner is someone that embodies an Olympian.  She is a warrior.  Although she was left off the Olympic roster, Irene has done everything she can to help USA Rugby and our team be as prepared for Rio as possible. 

She is selfless, pushes her teammates to be their best and continues to be a sounding board.  Irene is one the most determined hard working people I know and is completely deserving of being celebrated.  Her work ethic is impressive, but what separates her is the size of her heart.   Irene may be small in stature, but has a huge heart.  She is kind and giving and has an unprecedented ability to make the people around her better.   It takes a special person to push aside personal disappointment for the benefit of the team.  To me, Irene represents the foundation of what the Olympic Games is built upon.  Because of this, in my eyes, Irene is an Olympian.  I will always look up to her as an athlete, but more importantly for how she presents herself.      

Monday, July 11, 2016

Any life changes can prove to be difficult.  Change is defined as doing something different and transition is the action of undergoing change.  I am learning that the more I can prepare for change in my life the smoother the transitions is.  In 2014 upon retiring from bobsled I was faced with an enormous amount of change.  I moved from my home in Colorado Springs.  I needed to find a new way to support myself.  Additionally, I encountered a huge shift in lifestyle change after being provided for by an Olympic Training Center.  Simple things like grocery shopping were completely overwhelming.  On top of everything I was dealing with the disappointment of missing the 2014 Olympic Team and faced with the challenges of trying to figure out what was next.  I was completely unprepared.  I was ready to move on from bobsled, but struggled daily with the face that it was not on my terms. 

The enormous amount of change I was experiencing seemed to compile and paralyze me from moving forward.  I tried to be brave every day to work towards an unknown goal.  Although my family couldn’t completely understand what I was going through they have been patient and loving with me as I’ve worked to figure myself out.  I was not pushed to move forward quicker, but was allowed time to grieve the loss of my life and gradually explore the overwhelming amount of future options. 

I have learned that along with preparing a plan, surrounding yourself with people who support you, not judge you and will love you unconditionally, helps the process.  I have been fortunate to have been able to use the past two years to explore different career options and narrow down what direction I want to go.  I think I have learned that I may never know exactly what I want to do, but it is important to be brave and dive into options.  I can still continue to explore and move in and out of jobs as I see fit. 

Soon I will be going through more major changes.  I am still nervous, but I feel significantly more prepared this time.  I have learned that I thrive in the routine that athletics provided me, so it is important for me to create a similar structure as I begin school in the fall.  I will be surrounded by my family support and I am more confident than I was a year ago.  Although change can be difficult, it can also be very fun and exciting depending the perspective you chose to take.  I know I will continue to be overwhelmed but utilizing the tools that made me a success in sports I am confident that I can achieve anything that I want to.