Back across the pond in Oslo right now getting ready for my last World Cup races. This is the first time the IBU World Cup has returned to Oslo since the 07-08 season. They have spent the last two years tearing down the old Holmenkollen Ski Jump and building a new complex along with a revamped biathlon and cross-country arena. Check out the picture to get an idea of what the new venue looks like.
Much has happened since I last posted – namely, the Olympic Games. It was an interesting feeling walking in to closing ceremonies and realizing, “Wow, it’s actually over.” This was not just the “Closing” of a two-week stint of racing during Ferbruary 2010. This was the culmination of four years of training, competing, extensive travel, and extremely hard work by an incredible team of dedicated individuals. It was a bittersweet night for me. I am proud of what the U.S. Biathlon Association and my team have accomplished over the last four years. I have been in the top 15 on occasion, moving towards individual success. I have been a part of record-setting Men’s Relay performances (5th and 6th in Rhupolding, Germany World Cups ’09 and ’10). I have watched my teammate Tim Burke make history and wear the World Cup leader’s yellow bib – the first time an American has ever earned that honor.
All in all, there have been many high points throughout the last four years. But I have to say, with regard to the Olympics in Vancouver, I cannot say that I am happy with the way things turned out. I expected better. We expected better. The one bright spot was Jeremy Teela’s 9th place in the opening Sprint race. He deserves a lot of credit for putting together a record-breaking (top American Olympic result) performance on an extremely difficult day. I can only say that I put my heart and soul into every hour of training, every interval workout, every long European training camp over the last four years.
Now, it is time to look forward, assess my strengths and weakness from the past, and formulate a new plan – one that will bring me to my highest potential. And so I head into this final stretch of the season with hope, and the motivation to keep reaching for the top!
Finally, I would like to thank a few key people that have thrown their support my way during the last four years:
Joe Straub and M/E Engineering P.C.; Joe stepped up and committed to four years of support and encouragement after the Torino Games in 2006.
Jeff Byrne and Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA); Jeff and the rest of the ORDA staff have directed the development of the new roller loop in Lake Placid while continuing to improve the other Lake Placid Olympic Venues which make my hometown a great place to train.
TD Bank; In 2006 TD Bank saw the potential that US biathletes in Torino. They were willing to stick there neck out and take on the title sponsorship role for U.S. Biathlon. There role has been truly crucial to all of our success on the international biathlon stage.
Grant Stewart and Stewart Filmscreens; Without warning, the Stewart offices called U.S. Biathlon one day a couple of years ago and expressed a desire to help out in whatever way he could. Since then Stewart has become one of our leading sponsors and Grant has quickly grown in to one of our biggest fans. He even made the effort to stop over and take in the Ruhpolding World Cup this year during on of his European business trips!
Per Nilsson, Bernd Eisenbichler, Armin Auchentaller, Max Cobb, Andy Shepard, Andi Elmslander, Petra “Gara” Garabik, Martin Beirmeier, Muck Bauer, Ed Merrens, James Upham, Pat Coffey: These are the people that have worked behind the scenes, behind scopes, out on the ski trail, behind video cameras, and in the wax room to give us – the athletes – the best chance in what has become the strongest international biathlon field in history. I am grateful to every one of these people for their selfless and tireless dedication to our collective dreams.
There are many, many other influential people that have helped me out throughout the last four years and beyond but I’m afraid I can’t mention all of them here.
Thank you to all.