The word of the day: CONSISTENTLY!
What is it that allows athletes to become elite–to excel at their sport–to rise to the top? Among the many factors, success and consistency stands out. That is that they find a road to success and CONSISTENTLY follow that path. What does that mean?
Path to Olympic Gold
By the time I was nine, we had moved to northern Vermont and started skiing and racing out of Smuggler’s Notch. Dad was instrumental in organizing the Northern Vermont Council which meant my races included competitors from other ski clubs. During the winter, I CONSISTENTLY competed against racers from northern Vermont.
Beginning to Train Consistently
By this time, Dad also realized that to just ski and train on the weekends was not enough. He wanted to buy property in the country with a hill facing northwest (to retain snow) so he could build a rope-tow in the back yard. He wanted my siblings and I to be able to train CONSISTENTLY during the week, rather than just on the weekends. He also put lights on the back of the house and a couple of light poles on the hill, since daylight in Vermont in the winter was limited to about 5 pm. By the time I was 11, we began training CONSISTENTLY Tuesday and Thursday nights with friends from all the nearby clubs.
At the age of 13, Dad introduced a conditioning program. My brother, 2 sisters, and I did calisthenics (push-ups, sit-ups, ankle lifts, knee-bends), isometrics, cardiovascular exercises (running, swimming, biking, soccer, hiking), and stretches. Our goal was to work out for 2 days and then take the 3rd day off (to allow our muscles to heal) CONSISTENTLY week after week, month after month.
Hopeful and U.S. Ski Team Bound
By the time I was 15, I made the Eastern team for Junior Nationals which was held in Winter Park, Colorado. I won the giant slalom which qualified me for a new U.S. Ski Team program called the “Hopefuls”. This meant I was now invited to the U.S. Ski Team camps. That summer, I attended my first summer ski camp. From that point on, I CONSISTENTLY trained on snow in the off-season, as well.
By the next year, I made the “A” team and joined the U.S. Ski Team’s regimen. After the season ended in April, U.S. Ski Team athletes worked out at home on their own until June when we met at an on-snow training camp somewhere out West (Mt. Hood, Bend, Mammoth) where we skied in the morning and did dry-land conditioning in the afternoon. At the end of July or early August, we flew to Chile or Argentina (which was their winter), to train for about 3 weeks. Our season then started around Thanksgiving with another training camp to get ready for the first World Cup races in Val d’Isere, France the first weekend in December. The U.S. Ski Team’s goal was always to prepare CONSISTENTLY to become the best in the world.
I won my gold medal when I was 21. It took me years of CONSISTENTLY skiing, conditioning, training, and having fun to build a foundation to get there!