Finally, the post you've all been waiting for! I'm going to talk about the IBU Cups I just competed in, which were counting as our Olympic Team Trials...along with what's next for me.
First things first though: I am selling one final round of Phan Club t-shirts! Huge thank you to Nip Rogers for the amazing design. The deadline for ordering is this Saturday, January 20th!! They are $25 per shirt, and come in both Youth and Adult sizes. If you'd like to order one, please send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks!
Kaya modeling the Phan Club shirt!
The first IBU Cup was in Slovakia, where we raced two 7.5 km Sprint races back-to-back. After traveling across the Atlantic, my body felt pretty tired on the skis. I came away from the weekend of racing disappointed with my results, and not looking forward for the upcoming races. Full results from the weekend can be found here, and here.
Racing the Sprint
Photo by Stanisalv Spáč
The way our Olympic Team Trials worked was they took your best two out of four races. The four races they would be using were the two Sprints in Slovakia, then we would do a Time Trial in Germany, followed by the 15km Individual IBU Cup in Germany. So I still had two more chances to pull together good races in Germany.
During our Sprint TT I felt much better on my skis, which made me happy. All of our ladies shot well though, so it made for a close race between Emily, Chloe, and I. This boosted my confidence a bit for the Individual later in the week. Results can be found here.
A very tired Maddie and Joanne
The Individual was my best race so far this season. I found myself feeling energetic on the skis, and calm on the range. I ended up hitting all 20 out of 20 targets!! This is only my second time ever doing this in my career. I was ecstatic! I found myself crossing the line in 8th place, which later dropped down to an 11th...SO close to a new personal best! (I got a 10th place last season on the IBU Cup) Full results can be found here.
Once I crossed the line, I collapsed into the snow and almost started hyperventilating because I was so happy. I was almost certain that I just secured an Olympic Team nomination. Of course I wasn't 100% sure, but I finally allowed myself to be excited for once, and it felt great!
I later found out that my teammate Emily had also cleaned her race (her first time cleaning a four stage race!) and finished in 5th place! A personal best for her by a landslide! It was so awesome to see a teammate in the flower ceremony.
Racing the Individual
Photo by Thomas
We had another Sprint this past weekend, and it was nice to race without any pressure. Unfortunately I didn't feel as quick on the skis..funny how you get tired after racing so much during the week! Results from that race can be found here.
Later that night, our Olympic Team was officially announced...and I am honored to say I will represent Team USA at my very first Olympic Games!!! I couldn't stop smiling for the rest of the night. My phone was being flooded with texts, emails, comments, likes...it was overwhelming to see how much love and support I was receiving. It's a feeling I'll never forget.
Although I am excited to go to the Olympics, it still doesn't quite feel real. I don't think it will sink in until I'm walking in those historic Opening Ceremonies. I've been restraining myself from dreaming about it for the past year...just because I didn't want to get my hopes high, in case I didn't make the team. But now that it's official, it's all I've been thinking about. It will be such an incredible experience.
I posted this on my Facebook page a few days ago...but for anybody who doesn't follow me on Facebook, here it is! "Now that I’ve had a couple of hours to process being named to the Olympic Team, I’d like to write a more meaningful post. This has been a lifelong process and dream. It didn’t seem like a realistic goal until this past year...and these past few hours have been a whirlwind of emotions! First of all, I’m overwhelmed with the amount of support I’ve gotten thus far! Wow! Thank YOU ALL!!! I’m reading each and every comment, I love it, it’s making me smile ear to ear. But special thanks to my hometown friends, fans, and family. (Especially Mom and Dad!) What an incredible community I come from. Go Eskimos! Go Polar Bears! Go Old Forge and the Town of Webb!! Throughout the years I’ve had so many coaches who have influenced and shaped the skier and person that I’ve become today. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be at the Olympic stage without you. Thank you to all of my coaches, teachers, and mentors through the years...you know who you are! Special thank you to my very first ski coaches, Marie Birtle and William Brooker . My high school coaches, John Leach, Carl Klossner, and Algis Shalna. My MWSC coaches Seth Hubbard, Will Sweetser, Sarah Dominick, and Amber Dodge(Freeman). And my most recent USBA/IBU Cup coaches, Jean Paquet, Jonne Kähkönen, Sarah Lehto, and the entire usbiathlon staff! I also want to say thank you to all of my local sponsors, these are the businesses and people who have made a huge impact on funding my biathlon career. Blizzard Manufacturing, Adirondack Homes & Real Estate, Adirondack Accents, Enchanted Forest Water Safari, DiOrio's Supermarket, Ozzie's Coffee Bar, and Old Forge Fitness! Thank you to the talented, Nip Rogers, for creating the art for my “Phan Club” shirts. Thank you to anybody who has ever donated to me, you got me here!Shoutout to my equipment sponsors as well! Thank you Rossignol, ONE WAY Sport USA, and HWK USA!!Every comment, every message, every like, every share...it all makes me feel so supported and loved! I still can’t believe it’s real. I have the biggest Phan Club, and I can’t wait to bring you all along this journey. 2018 Winter Olympics - Here I come!!"
Old Forge Hardware showing the love!
Dax repping the red, white, and blue!
Now I'm in Italy, getting a bit of recovery time in the beautiful Dolomites. My parents, sister, and boyfriend are all traveling here to watch the World Cup event later this week! I'm so excited to see them, and show them around. Unfortunately I wasn't one of the top 4 ladies, so I won't be starting in the World Cup. I'm a little bummed that my parents are traveling all this way and won't be able to watch me race...but on the bright side, I'll be able to hang out with them more and cheer on my teammates!
After this week, I might be racing in European Championships, which are also in Italy. After those races, we have a Pre-Olympic training camp in Germany. We fly over to South Korea sometime during the first week of February! Racing doesn't begin until mid-February, and a full schedule of biathlon races can be found here. I haven't been told which races I'll race, but I'm guessing either the Individual or the Women's Relay. I will certainly keep you posted once I find out, and give you the details so you can watch!!
Until then, I hope you're all having a wondering New Year so far! Thank you so much for the love and support, it really means a lot.
Currently listening to: Sit Next to Me by Foster The People