After a couple weeks of reflection, I have put together the highlights of my first Olympic Winter Games. A truly amazing, and at times overwhelming, experience I have decided to share my top 10 Olympic moments from my three weeks in PyeongChang.
10. Closing Ceremonies- Walking into the stadium with Team Canada as part of the most successful Winter Olympics for Canada in history was an incredible feeling. It was the perfect way to wrap up the games, team spirit, fun and great performances.
9. Woljeongsa Temple- On my final day in PyeongChang I ventured to the Woljeongsa Temple. The head temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, Woljeongsa is nestled in the hills of Odaesan National Park. Founded in 643 it is one of the oldest temples in the region. Full of beautiful colours and precise detail, each time you look at one of the buildings you see something more intricate than you did with your last glance. I am really glad I got the chance to explore the temple grounds, I most certainly felt more relaxed leaving than I did when I arrived. There is definitely a calming sensation spending time wandering through the temple grounds. Since it was possibly the only time I’ll have the chance to visit South Korea, I couldn’t leave without learning a bit about the country’s culture and history.
8. Becoming an Olympian– Crossing the finish line of the 15km Skiathlon, my first Olympic race was a very emotional and proud moment. It’s one thing to be at the Olympics, and it’s a whole other feeling to become an Olympian. I didn’t have a particularly great race that day but finishing my first Olympic competition and achieving that lifelong dream of becoming an Olympian was very gratifying. Hugging my teammates at the finish line will be a moment I’ll remember forever.
Even with this lifelong dream achieved, there is lots more to dream about and work towards. I hope that I will be representing Canada again on the Olympic stage in 4 years time, next time the dream is the be contending for medals for Canada, not just racing for personal bests. There is always room to grow and improve as an athlete, the ceiling of potential is endless, and I will keep working to race my ceiling and inch closer and closer to the best in the World.
7. Soohorang- The Olympic Games Mascot. Some called him a snow leopard, others a white tiger. Either way he was adorable and I didn’t miss a chance to snap a picture with him. The Soohorang stuffed animal that we were gifted by the organizing committee might also be my favourite acquisition of the trip.
6. 10km skate- My best individual race of the Olympics placing 37th. The 10km Skate was really nice course and I was skiing in the top- 30 for the first 5km before fading a bit on the second lap to finish just 13 seconds from 30th.
5. Cheering on Team Canada- After the Team Sprint, my final competition of the games, I had a few days to enjoy the Olympic atmosphere and cheer on Team Canada in other events and sports. I went to the Women’s hockey final which ended in a nail bitting shoot out and was a ton of fun to watch. We had a good Yukon contingent in the crowd with athlete mentor Jeane Lassen, Knute and I all at the game. Another fun event I got to watch was the Alpine Team event which puts countries against each other in head to head slalom runs making for fast and exciting runs. Some of the most exciting spectating came while watching my own sport. After missing the Team Sprint final by a few seconds I stayed to watch and spent the entire last lap screaming and jumping up and down like a crazy person as our American neighbours and friends Kikkan and Jessie claimed the first ever Olympic Gold in Cross Country Skiing. It was also inspiring to watch Alex battle to the end in a really tough 50km and finish 4th. Seeing your teammates ski so well is always a source of inspiration.
4. Cheer squad- From near and far the support was amazing. Having my mom and our family friend Debbie as well as the Canadian families in the stands cheering at every race was so motivating. The energy and support from back home was something more than I every could have dreamed of. Cards, banners and flags sent from the Yukon brightened our rooms and inspired us throughout the games. Pictures of our cardboard cutouts traveling around Whitehorse to different companies and departments brought smiles to our faces. Thank you to everyone for the kind messages of support! I feel very lucky to be able to represent such an amazing community and country!
3. Team Sprint- Team Yukon took the international stage wearing Team Canada colours. Emily and I had the privilege of representing Canada together in the Team Sprint. It was such an honour to be representing the Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club, Team Yukon and Canada at the same time. We were right in the mix for most of the race skiing up in 4th on the first few laps. Unfortunately we missed advancing to the final by 11 seconds but I am very proud of our race and it personally it was my favourite race of the games.
2. Exploring Korea with Mom- In between races I had a chance to do a bit of exploring with mom. We saw the sights around Dagwallyeon, checked out the beach down on the coast and replenish after our adventures with Korean BBQ.
1. Sharing the experience with my Team- Sharing the Olympic experience with this team was something truly special. They are the family I spend my winters and a lot of my summers with. To my teammates, coaches, staff and technicians, thank you for all being such wonderful people to work and spend time with. A special shout out to our wax techs, without you guys I’d be lost. To my teammates who are retiring, thank you for teaching me so much and sharing your journey. To the rest of you, I am excited for many more years of chasing our dreams and pushing our limits together.
Only 1423 days until the next Winter Olympic Games but there are lots of adventures to be had before then!
Thanks for sharing the journey! Post Olympic World Cup update coming soon.