After a whirlwind three weeks, the Olympics are over. The finish lines have all been crossed, the medals spread out to nations around the world, the fireworks which blasted over the stadium during closing ceremonies leaving those of us inside with the feeling of being in a war zone have ended, and the Olympic flame was extinguished. For many of us, though, the racing has continued and there has barely been a moment to catch our breath and recover from the excitement, adrenaline, emotion, and action. Finding time to reflect on this big moment has been hard as we immediately jumped back into the World Cup season and are continuing racing in Scandinavia. This continuation of movement had reaffirmed to me that the Olympics was not a destination or an endpoint but rather an amazing stop along this incredible journey. I left Sochi with more excitement than I brought with me and treasure the memories from these Olympic Games.
It was a rollercoaster Olympics with the full spectrum of emotions and sensations. From the extreme heat in the 10km classic race to the bone chilling cold of the airport terminal in the middle of the night for our Sochi departure, I felt it all. But the emotion that resonated the strongest and the one that propels me forward with new beliefs, goals, and insight, is inspiration. Inspiration from the complete exhaustion that I felt racing over the top of the last hill after having pushed harder than I ever thought possible. Inspiration from watching Sophie smoothly ski into the final in the sprint. Inspiration from being so nervous that I could barely talk before the first race. Inspiration from the pride of being apart of team USA as we walked into the opening ceremonies dressed in our over the top flag sweaters. Inspiration from the sound of the stadium during this unforgettable march. Inspiration for watching medals hung around the necks of fellow athletes. Inspiration from the disappointment of standing on the sidelines in events which I believed I could do my best. Inspiration from cheering myself hoarse for teammates as they put their all into the snow, slush, and ice. Inspiration from the never ending smiles from the friendly, helpful, and colorfully clad volunteers who made this event possible. Inspiration from the peace which prevailed through the Games despite warnings of violence and threat. Inspiration from the support I received from so many caring friends and family at home.
Thank you to all who supported me along the way and made this unbelievable experience possible.
|Olympic Stadium panorama|
|The Endurance Village|
|The village under a full moon|
|Rings and mountains: What a backdrop|
|Susan, Hannah, and I in the rings|
|The chalets where we stayed|
|Team training before the sprint|
|Go USA! Relay cheering|
|Not just sunny weather|
|Palm trees in the Coastal Village|
|Holding up the flame|
|Burkies in front of the Black Sea before closing ceremonies|
|Craftsbury in the front row|