Thinking back it all; from when my journey as an athlete first began, I never expected to be where I am today. I could’ve only hoped and dreamed.
When i was 8 years old, my dream first began. It was on the wrestling mat, after winning my first state title. My coach said, the words that would start it all, “Remember there will always be someone better”. I knew for a fact, at that moment, that I wanted to be the best. That’s where my Olympic dream grew. Once you win that gold medal on the Olympic stage, you are the best. From then on every moment was a dedication to bettering myself, while my Olympic wrestling dream grew with great successes and many failures.
Until the day in 2005, when a ATV accident during a fishing trip broke my back, paralyzing me. At 13 years old this moment was the of definition of fear and hopelessness. Though looking back on it now, it had defined and shaped the person I am today, in so many good ways. The process of recovery from an injury was difficult. There were trials and tribulation, especially only being 13 years old. I didn’t know where to go next or where this would lead me. Nevertheless, after work, focus and a family that stood behind me. I started walking again, at the age of 15. This was when my world opened up and possibilities started to flow. I became the Miracle Child for the Childrens Miracle Network. I traveled and spoke to many young children with uncertain futures. Each of them helped me to realize my own potential. That is when everything started to turn around. Two years from the date of my injury I realized I could live just as much or even more than most. Just in a different way, and there was nothing wrong with that.
This is when I realized pursuing my dreams was still possible, just in a different way. I had a physical therapist who took me Mono skiing for the first time. It brought back the dreams I had as a young child and I realized, it was possible to be a Paralympic Champion. Through the last 10 years from the time I was 15 and first got on snow. To now, I am 25, a world champion and overall globe winner. Ranked #1 in the world but still pursuing that one thing that seems to elude me, a Paralympic medal. There have been broken bones, and trials through the years. Breaking my back in Sochi and breaking my femur in Aspen to name a few. But through it all I learned more about myself. That I can make a difference. I can share my story and impact the lives of others. I came to the conclusion that everything that was happening to me, could be for a reason, if I decided to make it that way. That is what keeps me going as an athlete. Not the fact that I have always wanted to be the best. But by successfully completing this dream, I might just be able to make a difference. Bring the power of the human spirit to life and show others what they are truly capable of. That whatever trials are in their life, they can get through it. It just might take a change of perspective.
Looking back on the years and the times I have had. Good, bad and indifferent. It makes me smile. When I sit and contemplate on the present, with all of the training we have had as a team, in Switzerland and Austria. It makes me excited. To think of what the future will hold and how the training will pay off.
Over the summer we had an extensive power training program to increase our overall strength. With our camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs just ending, we had some great lactic acid and strength testing. Re-assuring that we are right on track for the season leading into Pyeong Chang. In December we will have our first world cups starting in St Moritz Switzerland and Kuhtai Austria. I am looking forward to a great year, and deep down I know this will be a great season. If I’m lucky I might just accomplish those dreams.
Hello from Alaska!
The team is on our way to Austria and Switzerland to train for what could be the largest season of our careers. Throughout the summer and leading into Pyeong Chang 2018. (The Next Winter Olympics and Paralympics) There has been much publication for the next few months. Ranging from photo shoots, to video shoots and even radio or television show interviews. All in preparation for another year representing our country on the global stage. But not just our country, our story, our legacy and even our sponsors. A chance to be placed in the spotlight for the rest of the world and hopefully make a positive influence. Pursuing our dream and show casing the positive human spirit that is held with the Paralympics. We all are holding ourselves to the highest of competitive standards. When chasing our dream, to be the best, we need to prepare as the best. With rigorous physical summer training coming to a close we are looking to get on snow and prepare every aspect of our mind and bodies for speed and endurance. Im happy to share this journey with my sponsors and supporters as well as the multiple classrooms I will be mentoring throughout the season with the Classroom Champions Foundation.
It is a huge honor of mine to be a featured favorite for the podium. With all of the pressure and support, being shown for the Paralympics I can only hope you will follow me on my journey as I represent you, and my country in Pyeong-Chang. This journey for me is one of personal passion, for those who have believed in me throughout the years and those who have stood behind me through it all. I plan to showcase my spirit, and overcome all of my injuries and doubts throughout the years, including my untimely broken back in Sochi. I want the world to see the Integrity behind Paralympic sport, win, lose or draw, we are all athletes dedicating ourselves to our passions. Pursuing our goals. Seeking the gold. But, the true Integrity behind sport and behind the whole journey, is the adventure that gets us there. Thats why i hope you’ll follow this adventure with me, win, lose or draw I’m hoping this will be our favorite adventure yet.
Honored to be featured by the factory agency as part of the Rise Series
Hello from Alaska!
Summer has been fantastic! With lots of exercise and preparation for Pyeong Chang 2017. The regiment is twice a day. Maxing our heart rates and preparing for a tough season of competition. Mixing aerobic, strength and endurance exercises, to make the most of this season.
On the side, as part of my journey to make a difference whenever possible. I am proud to say that was accepted as a Athlete mentor for the organization of Classroom Champions. Where throughout my year i send videos to under privileged classrooms throughout the world, and mentor young students and future athletes. It’s a simple program but it is something i am truly proud of, and looking forward to. As a athlete i truly feel it is a calling of mine to be able to make a difference in the lives of others.
Please give it a quick search and send it to a friend or teacher you know. http://www.classroomchampions.org
With the biggest year of my career on the way, nothing but focus runs through my mind knowing that i need to be as prepared as possible to represent my country and state. This time off in Alaska and at home, gives me a chance to reflect on World Championships, and last season. Not just the wins, but the losses, the close calls, and the mistakes. To better prepare myself for what is next, in this on coming season.
As the summer passes lots of fish have been caught, the freezer has been filled, and my body is being prepared for another Olympic Year. Between volunteering at different events like the kids fun run in Anchorage Alaska and being a athlete for healthy heroes. I am honored to have NetCracker at my back ready and proud to have me as a representative again this year. Fueling me to make a difference and helping me to be the best mentor and athlete possible.
This month i am focusing on reflection. I encourage you to do the same, dreams are powerful. Mine are coming true, i know yours can also. Sometimes it just takes a moment and a little reflection. A time to look back and say, that went well, I’m proud of myself. Or say, that didn’t go as planned, but to take a moment learn from it. Remember there are always good things to look forward to, and to keep fighting for. For me there is being a classroom champion and making a difference. There is Pyeong Chang, being an Olympic athlete and the challenges that lay ahead. But I am also looking forward to representing NetCracker, my country and all those looking up to me.
Thank you for your time and support, please take a moment and realize all there is to look forward to.
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