Olenick: Whirlwind of Olympic qualifying | AspenTimes.com

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Olenick: Whirlwind of Olympic qualifying

Well, that was a whirlwind of the past three months, to say the least.

Everyone always warned me that Olympic qualifiers were stressful and tiring. I now believe them.

I competed in five events at three different resorts in a matter of six weeks, with a break for Christmas in the middle. Go, go, go, go. And now it’s all over.

People ask me if I am upset I didn’t make the U.S. Olympic Team, and to be completely honest, I am not too heartbroken over it.

To look back at the progress I have made since November is enough of an accomplishment to keep me smiling for months to come.

At the last qualifier in Park City, I put together a run I had never done before, yet had been building in my mind for months. The feeling of putting that run to my feet felt like my own personal Olympic gold medal.

To have the chance to compete against the best in the world in your sport and miss the Olympics by three spots is quite the accomplishment in itself.

Yes, going to Russia to represent my country would have been the experience of a lifetime, but I can’t be upset with the outcome. This so-called “Road to Sochi,” has been a crazy experience not only for me but for my friends and family as well.

I felt like I was competing for everyone who has ever believed in me and helped me reach this level.

The first rail feature was for my parents, for getting me on skis at age 2 and enabling me to fall in love with skiing.

The second rail feature was for my brothers for coaching me through photos, video and a lot of time on the phone while I was on the road.

The third rail feature was for my friends for still considering me a “friend” when I was too busy to make time for them.

The first jump was for my community for the endless support and helping me raise money to chase my dreams.

The second jump was for every doctor and physical therapist that kept fixing me when I was broken.

The final “money booter” was for myself for never giving up and chasing my Olympic dream right up until the end.

I am proud of every athlete that set out on this Olympic path, whether they make it to the big show or not. It’s a grueling mission and not many people are willing to give up everything to chase their dreams with the possibility of failure.

Thank you to everyone that has followed my journey and supported me in one way or another.

Also, I would like to make a huge shout-out to Mother Nature for the lightest, fluffiest snow I have ever skied in my 26 years last weekend in Aspen. Keep it coming!

Good luck to all my fellow Aspenites — Simi Hamilton, Noah Hoffman, Torin Yater-Wallace and Jeremy Abbott competing in the following weeks in Sochi, make us proud!