With the start of the Olympics being a month away, I can’t help but reminisce about my years of racing and my own Olympic experience. Steamboat has a long tradition of producing Winter Olympians and this year will be no exception. With pride and appreciation, I will watch our athletes knowing that with every journey, there is always more than what we see at the finish line.

All the Space Between:
The Olympics are every four years which leaves a lot of time in between. The reality is that there are World Cups, World Championships, National Championships and months and months of training during the years leading into each Olympic season. That is a lot of energy and dedication going into those key moments.

Just Getting There:
Qualifying for the actual games is an enormous challenge in and of itself. In Alpine skiing as in other sports, the US Ski Team athletes are vying for four spots per event. With a team of twenty athletes per gender, this can create a difficult and competitive scenario. Teammates who live, sleep and travel together roughly 300 days a year are trying to beat out fellow teammates and friends for a spot to represent their country. The pressure is on.

The Power of a Moment:
Perhaps the most incredible aspect of the Olympics is in actually winning a medal. What many people don’t realize is the odds of actually winning a medal and a gold at that are 1 in 662,000. More specifically, of the 13,000 athletes competing in both winter and summer Olympics, less than 3% will actually win a gold medal. We’ve all seen the heartbreaking stories of athletes falling, tripping or failing to perform at their best for that one moment in time. In Alpine skiing, the culmination of years and years of training comes down to roughly 60+ seconds. One minute, where anything can happen. Where dreams are either made or crushed.

My story wasn’t one of winning a medal, but my journey was one of passion, determination and unexpected life experience. Those memories are more than gold to me.

When we watch our local athletes next month in South Korea, I hope we all can appreciate the incredible journey they have had to get to the Olympics and thoughts for those who aren’t as fortunate.

-Caroline