Simi Hamilton

 

Archive for February, 2014

Jessie pretty much epitomizes the spirit I'm talking about.

Topic: General News

This is going to be a short one because I’m gearing up to go check out the women’s 4×5 km relay in a few minutes. There’s few things more exciting than watching our women CRUSH HOUSE, and they’ve had a few relays on the World Cup where they’ve done exactly that. Watching them ski as one team, it’s easy to see why they are regarded as the relay team with the most heart. And I don’t mean that in the sense that they go out and ski hard with lots of heart, but never do very well on the results list… They are becoming regulars on the podium and they find themselves up there because of what they know they can accomplish as a team of 4, not just 4 individual women skiing 5 km each. So anyway, regardless of where they finish, it always makes me enormously proud that they are such a prominent face of our team. They give us all a good name in the international ski community, and as USA XC continues to define itself as a nordic powerhouse, that’s pretty important. I’m hoping that everyone back home who doesn’t watch the relay live this morning wakes up to find some history-making news, but even if that doesn’t happen, I’m still enormously proud to be a part of this team with these stand up ladies.

Jessie pretty much epitomizes the spirit I'm talking about.

So a little bit about the sprint last Tuesday… Everyone who’s reading this has probably had that experience at some point in their life of really wanting to do things over again. That’s pretty much where I’m at with how the sprint turned out. But what I’ve realized in the last few days since the race, is that I do get to do it over again, because there are going to be SO many more races- Olympic races, World Cup races, World Championship races- ahead of me in the future. And although I can’t turn back time to avoid all the things that I felt didn’t go my way on that big day, I can wake up every morning with the goal of just becoming a better ski racer, a better person, a better teammate. No matter how big or small the tasks. It’s for sure a little frustrating to be in the middle of my best ski racing season ever, and feel like one specific result at the Olympics doesn’t reflect the racing shape that I’m in and the speed that I have at my fingertips right now, but oh well. Sometimes things line up in a sprint heat, and sometimes they don’t. That’s why this is one of the toughest sports in the world, mentally and physically, and that’s why we love it. It’s just a ski race and if we didn’t learn anything from all the days that we’re out there- the good ones and the bad ones- than this whole thing would be totally pointless.

It still feels like summer up here at the Endurance Village, so I’m gonna go throw on my cutoff race suit, cruise around on the course for a few minutes, soak up some righteous rays, and then get my cheer on for our girls. Go USA!

Soph showing the world the latest in nordic fashion… sleeveless. It’s been about 60 F during the last few afternoon races up here.
The queen. Marit Bjorgen (NOR) striding the big climb like a boss. I think she ended up 5th in the women’s 10 km classic, but she’s always one of the most graceful classic skiers to watch out there.
Sunshine, beautiful mountain landscape, raucous fans.

02.15

2014

IMG_1228

Sochi- Hot. Cool. Yours.

Topic: General News

We’re here! Kind of a strange title for this post, but seeing as Hot. Cool. Yours. is the official slogan of the 2014 Olympics, I thought it fitting. Still trying to figure out exactly what it means, and if anyone has any concrete answers for me, let me know. Anyway, there are more than a few perplexing things about the Olympics, not just the unique slogans, that seem to catch my attention when I’m here. Like where all the millions of plastic bottles go after they’e been discarded (we’re under strict rules to only use bottled water… even for brushing our teeth), how logistics seem to stay so smooth for the thousands of athletes, coaches, and staff that are here, and how to get three duffel bags of Olympic garb home once the games are over. Again, if anyone has any concrete answers, let me know.

We arrived at the Endurance Village a few days ago. This place is crazy, especially after contrasting it to what we say here and down in the valley when we raced our pre-Oly test World Cups exactly one year ago. As we walked to meals at the Endurance Village and drove past hundreds of iron and steel hotel skeletons lined along the highway up from the Black Sea last February, I remember thinking to myself, “How in God’s name are they going to get everything done by next February?” Well, from our end of things, it seems like they did. And hat’s off to the thousands and thousands of hard working construction workers and planners that made it happen. Sure, there are stories about media hotels still not having running water, and doorknobs coming off in-hand when people have checked into their hotel rooms, but from where we sit, everything is pretty darn amazing. We’re living the good life, as some like to say. The skiing on the race trails is unbelievable. Fast, great tracks, stunning views, and courses that are extremely challenging, technical, and fun all bundled up into one amazing bubble of a venue. I hit a pretty good speed on the big downhill today, and didn’t even blink an eye because of the perfect grooming and layout of the trails:

Thanks Zach Caldwell for the great shot.

Since it’s just the XC skiers and biathletes up at the Endurance Village for the entirety of the games, you see a lot of familiar faces everywhere you go. You get to know a lot of great people from just being on the World Cup all year, so it’s fun to hook up with friends around here for a quick game of pool, a training lap around the race course, or a bit of deck time in the afternoon sun.

So far, the two Olympic opening ceremonies that I’ve been to have ranked right up there with that time I took a trip to outer space and that other time I safely landed a 747. Somewhat unreal to say the least. The energy is out of this world and there’s really no layman’s way to describe walking into a stadium in front of 50,000 spectators with the stars and stripes on your back. It makes you forget about pressure and expectations and to be part of a larger team- not just an American team but a World team- is the most awesome feeling that exists, I’m pretty sure.

Noah and myself sporting our attire that doubles as our opening ceremonies outfits as well as what we'll wear when we deliver long-winded lectures about astrophysics after our skiing careers

Today’s women’s 15 km duathlon kicked off the XC events. We had 4 girls race really well, with especially great performances by Jessie in 8th and Liz in 12th. Just watching the live feed from our room made me antsy to get out there and ski some more, and I’m getting more and more fired up for the sprint on Tuesday with every passing minute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

02.08

2014

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