Wow! Incredible. It was everything I thought it would be.
Tears of joy mixed with tears of disappointment. A lifelong dream coming to a pinnacle of pride, pain, and jubilation. Friendships forged, regardless of flags. Those symbolic five rings. Years of hard work eased away from me as I stood on the start line, time and time again. I felt nothing but peace and gratitude to be able to live my life this way. To experience those races that few others will ever get a chance to. And it’s because of you.
This is my ode to the Olympics, my speech to my supporters. Many years ago, it was me that stood in awe of Olympians. I was the kid who felt privileged to meet one.
The stars were in my eyes. Now the dream has become a reality. And I could not have made it here alone.
To my devoted team-my coaches, wax technicians, massage and physiotherapists, physiologists and sports psychologist. I thank you and applaud you in pushing me, building me up, breaking me down, and sometimes kicking me in the butt. Your confidence in me is empowering. You are my big family.
To my enthusiastic hometown.
Thanks for believing in me. Always with a keen eye for how you could help. Thanks for not thinking I’m crazy when I rollerski on the South Shore Road. Or at the very least not telling me if you do. Small towns, big dreams. I only hope I can continue to make you proud.
To my teammates.
Like we decided the quote on our calendar should be: In union there is strength. Here’s to my best friends, practically siblings, which I have shared many a hilarious moment with. From the peaks to the valleys, with no topics off limits, I am so happy to have you all at my side. Because you understand better than anyone, this wild ride. Looking forward to more great times to come. Thank you.
To my friends.
Who I feel at home with in an instant. You are so comfortable, real, and loving. Thanks for joining me in workouts, singing me songs, making fun of me for the geek that I am. May the laughter never die. See you soon.
To my sponsors.
Thanks for joining my team, my journey, my fight- whatever you may call it. Without you I would be a ship with no sail. I sincerely thank you for your contributions. I look forward to giving back, and being a part of your team too. You rock!
And to my family.
To hear your voices in the crowd at first made me smile. Your signs made me laugh. And then to see you all in person after my first race was over made me cry. There have been so many adventures…think sailing in the storm that Dad insisted ‘was going to miss us’. I hope this one will be as memorable. Vancouver family road trip 2010. The question for you is are you up for it again in four years? Better start practicing your Russian. Here’s one I think you should know: “na zdorovye!”