Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Olympic Games Ski Cross. The day we've all been waiting for...

Wholly guacamole! I think yesterday tops the opening ceremony as the best day of my life! I finished 15th in the first ever Olympic Games ski cross.

Everything was amazing from start to finish. I saw my family (about 20 of them) before warm up, so that made me super excited. It just kind of hit me all of a sudden that this was actually happening and they were all here to support me. They were all dressed from head to toe in their Aussie kit which was great.

(My entourage going wild in the crowd)

In the start gate ready to race my qualifying run, the nerves hit me. I was so nervous that my legs were shaky and my arms were numb. But I managed to use this energy to drive me even harder down the hill. The adrenaline rush I felt was incredible, and when I crossed the line in 16th position (from bib 27), I was fuelled with excitement and relief. It was hard to miss the 20 Australian lunatics cheering like mad in the crowd! I couldn’t stop smiling. Finally I got to show everyone back at home watching at 5:30am what I’ve been working so hard for over the years.

(Enjoying the crowd after my 17th place in qualifying)

Once finals came around I was raring to go. I drew heat number 2, and had the third choice of gate because of my qualification time. In my heat were two Austrians (Katarina Gutenson and Karen Huttary) and a Swiss (Katrin Muller). I had a fast start and took the lead, which surprised everyone I’m sure, including myself! Half way down the course Karen made a pass on me. Shortly after I avoided huge crash when Katrin Muller flew over my head and almost took me out. She went down hard and I finished in second, qualifying me for quarter finals. One of the most exciting heats of the day!

(Heat 1 - On my way to the quarter finals. Photo taken from the internet)

(Excited to get through to the quarter finals after finishing second in my first heat.)

(Soaking up the atmosphere at the bottom)

In the quarter finals, again I had a fast start (thanks to all the training I had on my backyard start gate) and pulled into second behind Anna Holemund from Sweden. Huttary again made a pass, so unfortunately I finished in third. An extremely close heat, and great skiing from all the girls.

(A very very close heat in the quarter finals. This is the second last jump, coming into the finish area. Photo taken from the internet)

(Sasa Faric of Slovenia and I at the bottom after quarter finals)

I was so close to making the semi finals, however I can’t be disappointed with my result. It ain’t gold, but 15th place (out of 35 girls) in my first Olympics isn’t too shabby! Matt, my coach, was very happy with my performance. I think I exceeded everyone’s expectations, including my own!
I feel like everything has just fallen into place. After qualifying at the very last race, and now finishing 15th, I couldn’t be happier!