After three years of working towards a top-five result in the relay, we finally reached that goal on Thursday night, here in Ruhpolding, Germany. It was an awesome feeling to be a part of the best relay finish in recent history for the U.S. Like I said, the relay has been a main focus since we placed 9th at the Olympics in Torino in 2006. At that point, people finally started to realize that we had a legitimate chance of medalling at the next Olympics… provided we made the right improvements. I big part of that journey involves taking the right steps along the way.
We took the right steps but, for the past couple of years, we couldn’t quite get everything to click in the relay events. Individually, we all made big steps and broke into the top of the pack on several occasions. But it wasn’t until this Thursday that we proved – to ourselves and everyone else – that we were a legitimate medal contender. Jeremy, our fourth leg, finished within 24 seconds of the bronze. In a race that takes around one hour to complete, that is a tiny sliver of time.
As much as this took a lot of hard training and preparation, I have to say that we have a lot of people to thank for helping us make this step. Per Nilsson (head coach), Bernd Eisenbichler (Team Manager), and Andi Elmslander (Head Was Technician) have been at the center of this process for the last three years and their guidance has been a huge factor in the U.S. team’s recent success. Everyone on the staff deserves a write-up but I’m afraid that would take all night. Suffice it to say that we have one of the hardest working teams on the world cup and their enthusiasm is a huge motivation for all of us (athletes).