My first trip to Canmore was two years ago. I came here to watch the race, learn as much as I could, and cheer on the 8 or so APU athletes that would be competing in the event. It was a blast! We wrote Kikkan's name on our stomachs, carried around ALASKA flags, and had a great time. Two years ago I never envisioned that I would be here as an athlete....
On September 23rd, 2009 I published an article on a blog that I write for: http://www.athleta.net/chi/
In the article, I vocalized my Olympic goal and what had been "my little secret" was on the internet and available for ANYONE to read. It's fun to go back and re-read this piece from 5 (short) months ago! I faced my fear and it paid off! Now, not only will I be starting my first World Cup in a couple of days but I will be walking into the opening ceremonys as an athlete in T-14 days!
I Want To Be An OlympianHolly Brooks • Sep 23rd, 2009 • Category: Featured Athlete Story, Skiing
There, I said it. I’ve been avoiding the “O” word for such a long time. It’s taken me months to come out and say it but there it is, plain, clear, and simple for all the Internet universe to see.
As a professional full-time coach for a private program, my personal racing has always taken a backseat to my job. This year, as I prepare to make the 2010 Winter Olympic Cross Country Ski team, I plan to step up my personal training while maintaining a high level of commitment to the athletes that I coach. (If anything is going to take a hit, it will be my social life or lack thereof!)
During the past year when people have asked me if I’ve thought about “trying out” for the Olympics or training to make the team, I’ve always been non-committal in my answer. My response usually followed the lines of, “I’m going to train like usual and see what happens” or, “we’ll see how things go.” The truth is, or course I’ve thought about it and “YES!” I want to try. This time when someone asks me about the Olympics I plan on being clear and committal in my response.
Why has it been so hard for me to admit my goal? To put it simply, I’m afraid of not making the team — of failing. “What will people think if I don’t make it?” But, if I wasn’t “trying” in the first place it would be a shock to everyone if I was named to the team. If I didn’t make it they would say, “You weren’t really trying — imagine what you could have done if you tried!” There is a fair amount of safety in hiding my goal or being “laissez-faire about it.” I am not going to hide behind the mask of being a coach anymore.
Vocalizing goals holds you accountable in more ways than one. It holds you responsible for your hard work: On a rainy, cold day where you don’t feel like training, perhaps you’ll think of your mom who will come to watch you race. Or, encouragement from your local community, family, and friends can provide inspiration or emotional, logistical, or even financial support.
By failing to vocalize my goal I realize I have only been short-changing myself. When people would inquire about my plans and I was blowing it off, I realize that the attitude was permeating my training efforts, my planning, and my ability to be a whole athlete. When you are trying to make an Olympic team there is no room for three-quarter effort. Undoubtedly there are other skiers out there who have vocalized their Olympic goals for years and are doing everything they possibly can to ensure they are on that team!
My hope, now that I have admitted to chasing the Olympic dream, is to have the ability to pursue my goal to the fullest: To receive support and encouragement from those around me; and last but not least, to inspire others to acknowledge, confront, and vocalize their dreams without fear of failure.
Not only is it sweet to accomplish my goal but it's super nice to have friends who make really cool signs!
Thanks Inger! You totally ROCK!