As I crossed the finish line in third place, I stood up and tried to avoid running into or over the other competitors. No fist pumps, no yelling, no claiming. I made sure to find my way over to the winner, 17 year old Jared Huges from Australia, to congratulate him on his much deserved first World Cup podium. Hugs, high fives, medal ceremony, interviews, more high fives, and the all important call to Mom to let her know I was okay. When I finally had a moment to myself, I exhaled.
Every 4 years when the Olympics rolls around the pressure that comes with such a monumental event is pretty overwhelming. The past year has had a lot of highs and lows for me. I stood on my first World Cup podium in Sochi at the Olympic test event and then separated my shoulder at the next race, killing my momentum and cutting my season short with major surgery. I had to go through months of painful rehab and then work my ass off to get back where I am today. To step onto the World Cup podium after only one race back from surgery felt pretty damn good.
The US Snowboard SBX team has unmatched depth of talent. There are easily 8 men that could land on the podium at any event. In the run up to Vancouver, three different US men had a 3rd place podium result and only one of them got to go to the Olympics. A 3rd place finish is nothing to shake a stick at, but on this team its not going guarantee me a ticket to Sochi and I’m certainly not going to take a thing for granted.
Im so grateful to be able to chase my dream around the world and I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of a huge group of people. One of my teammates always says ‘Its not about how you start, but how you finish that matters’, and the race is far from over. I’m more motivated than ever to keep working hard on the Road to Sochi. In the chaos that is the Olympic season, Im giving myself one small moment to take a deep breath and enjoy this step in the right direction.
Click the link below to check out the video of finals.