Racing on the World Cup circuit is about going for the win on the racecourse, but for me its also about meeting, learning and respecting my competitors off of the racecourse. I compete against girls from all over the world and though we come from very different backgrounds, I have come to learn over the years that we are all very similar in the fact that we are all striving for the same goals: to be the best in what we do. This kind of atmosphere makes for a very positive and supportive feeling amongst all of the girls on the circuit.
When I was growing up as a young racer I was always taught by my parents to go to the winner and congratulate them on their result. Even if I have had the worst race of my career I always make a point of approaching the winners and congratulating them because on that specific day I wasnt the best, but that is what I was striving for. I congratulate my competitor because on that day she was the best and was able to rise above the rest of her competitors. Who says that it cant be me on the following day?
Being able to approach the winner and congratulate them is a very strong attribute for an athlete to have. It shows that you have respect for your competitor and their abilities. It also shows that you as a competitor are able to move on from a bad result, hold your head high and shift your focus to the next race. This also gains respect from your competitors.
I have now built some strong friendships on the circuit and am able to learn from my competitors, and them also from me. Alpine ski racing is an individual sport and each and every one of us out there is very distinct from each other. But, that is what makes the circuit so interesting and why I enjoy getting to know each and every one of the girls.
In the past month, after having some top finishes on the World Cup I have also noticed this attribute in many of the other top girls on the circuit. Janica Kostelic is always one to come and congratulate me after a top result, and the same goes for Anja Paerson. I didnt win the Park City giant slalom nor the Aspen slalom but I had two results that were for me entry into the top 30 arena of World Cup skiing. They recognized that and acknowledged it.
At the slalom race in Aspen I was 29 th after the first run. In the second run I came down into the lead and now awaited the next racer, Claudia Riegler, to come down the course. For the last two years my teammates and I have spent our training camps in New Zealand and have trained with Claudia. As she was coming down she was picking up some time on me and ended up taking the lead by one second. Sure, I would have liked to have held the lead but at the same time I was truly happy for Claudia because I have seen her train and work hard and she is striving for the best, just like me. On that day she was just able to put together a faster run. I hope that every racer and competitor out there remembers that winning doesnt happen every day. Its great when you do win but one of the best parts about wining is the process in how you get there.
The Canadian team has just come off of a great month of racing in North America showing that we are a strong team and looking to go faster. Just this past Sunday in Lake Louise the women finished off the month with Genevieve Simard finishing sixth, Emily Brydon eighth and Melanie Turgeon 15 th in the super G race. The men in Beaver Creek also showed some strength on that same day, with Vincent Lavoie and Eric Guay finishing 31 st and 35 th respectively. Dont forget that we have a very young mens speed team right now and we need to give them a bit of time to grow. But the desire is there.
I am now off to Europe and will be there for the next two months. I will continue to keep you updated. I would like to finish off by saying thanks to the best coaches, Jim Pollock and Matt Kerr. Matt, thanks for the mountain biking, and Jim for always knowing when to tell me to wake up and go fast!