What a long and diverse summer it’s been! For me personally it has been a bit of a rollercoaster, juggling training and preparing for the new season, with the all of the other new demands on my time since becoming Olympic Champion, I have never had to ‘manage’ other parts of my career off the track until now, and it has been fun and challenging trying to strike the right balance.
The season after an Olympic Games can be challenging for athletes, we all have to check in with our motivation – for me I have to know what is going to get me through the next 4-year cycle to Pyeongchang?
But the beginning of an Olympic quad provides a refreshing chance to review everything, we can shake the things that didn’t work and emphasize those bits that did. I’ve updated a few things, but will retain my own unique process of recording my track notes and how I work with staff and coaches. I have a new coach, Eric Bernotas who is now the World Cup coach and is a fantastic addition to the coaching staff. With Eric’s wealth of knowledge as a skeleton athlete for the USA as well as proficiency for coaching with Australia, I’m looking forward to his ambitious and stringent style.
I have always expected a lot from myself and this year is no different. I want to slide faster than I ever have before, be a better athlete and to try and win more gold medals. I am also the one to beat as the returning Olympic Champion my new nickname amongst my teammates is ‘OC’ – a new experience for me!
A less than perfect start to this year’s pre-season training however, did put me out of step. Its always nice to experience a ‘first’ – except when it’s the first time you fall off the sled!
Every run whether in training or competition, I stand at the start block with the same questions running through my mind- “Why I am doing this? Will I remember all of the steers? Will I crash?” I have never crashed the sled before so that one is usually ticked off…
Pre-season training in Konigssee, Germany a few weeks ago and I had steered through the three large oscillations in the Kreisel corner and made it through the chicane of two extremely steep sided corners. Before I know it, I am thrown off the sled sliding around a huge left-hander with the sled on top of me.
OC brought back down to earth with a bump!
I realised in that split second that complacency had paid a part – I had never crashed before so didn’t think I had to worry about it.
I got back onto the sled by the next corner and continued down the track to the outrun where I was met by two of my teammates to check that I was okay, which luckily I was. Having grown up on a farm riding horses I knew the importance of ‘getting straight back on the horse’. After my flip I was nervous about it all, but I had to show the track who was boss. I was eager to get back sliding the next day and rewrite my memory, the worst thing is to leave a track with bad emotions and memories because the next time you’ll be there it will be near on impossible to perform. What a lesson – I won’t let my concentration dip again that’s for sure.
After that rocky start, I am back to sliding well and I am in great physical shape.
I really can’t wait for the season to start this year especially as I didn’t know whether I would ever step inside the gym again after Sochi. I now know that the reason I am sliding again into this Olympic Cycle is the best reason of all, because I love it. And I want to win.
As always, thank you for your support.