The 2019 - 2020 bobsled season was supposed to be the best season yet. I finished last season racing in the World Championships, placing 9th in the world. Following the season, I moved to the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs to train full time. That’s all I focused on; training. Getting better. Chasing the dream.
But the reality of what happened was something less than a dream. In general, my push times and sprints during team competitions weren’t as good as previous years, and from the start of the season, everything seemed to spiral down from there.
My very first trip down the ice in Lake Placid, unfortunately, set the tone for the season. I was already a little bit nervous because going down the track for the first time in months always brings back some nerves. We push, we run, we jump in, we start cruising down the hill and then about 30 seconds in was a moment of silence and then boom, we were on our heads.
We crashed. And my head really took a hit.
I was dizzy and disoriented. Emotional and nauseous. Angry and confused. WHY!? Even though my testing numbers weren’t where I wanted them to be, I was sure I would prove it on the ice.
The weeks following brought an enormous amount of anxiety. I had been suffering from a concussion and I didn’t even really know. I was forced to sit out and recover. When cleared, I did not have peace about sliding. I did not want to be there anymore and I was going through emotions that I had not felt toward the sport. One day I felt fine and then the next I would be so anxious and moody and I couldn’t explain it.
I no longer had peace sliding and the season already felt over. Then, it was announced that only one sled would be funded on the World Cup tour, forcing most athletes to the sidelines for the year. Following that, I wasn’t named to the National Team and it was time for me to make a decision, which was pretty clear on what to do; take the season off, re-focus, heal and see where God leads.
Now looking back, I truly know it was a blessing in disguise. I wouldn’t have stopped sliding for a season unless I was forced too. So, that’s what God did. He forced it.
So, I made plans to return to Omaha to focus on working, training and figuring out what’s next.
Before returning home from Lake Placid in December, I had set up an interview at Starbucks because I knew they offered full benefits for only 20 hours of work, and since I was kicked off the elite athlete insurance, I needed to make moves, and quick. I was just going for the benefits and because I sincerely enjoy making coffee. When I lived at the training center in Lake Placid, I walked to the Marriott in the mornings and would barista at the Starbucks in the hotel. So, I had some experience... ha!
I interviewed the day after I returned and my (now) manager says, “Starbucks actually has an Elite Athlete Program where they financially help athletes like you.” Perfect. Now I am determined to learn more about this Elite Athlete Program and hopefully someday help other athletes in my position.
For now, I’m back in Omaha working and will continue to train. I don’t know where this will all lead. And I don’t know what the future holds. But I do know the One who does and right now I am following peace, and my peace in being home, working and training.
Right now, I plan to go back next season but honestly, it’s up to God. He’s brought me this far and trust that I’m not done yet. He knows what He’s doing, and it seems He had different plans for me this season. My job right now is to trust Him. He’s never failed me before.
Thanks for your continued support. This athlete journey is filled with mountain top and valley moments. March 2019 was a mountaintop. Winter 2019 was the valley moment. It’s all part of the journey and I’m grateful for your support.
Could Beijing 2022 still be in the picture?