Little Old Me
A California girl immersed in a winter sport. Strange, but true. I'm a Southern California native, and a graduate of Northern Arizona University, with a degree in Parks and Recreation Management.
My twin brother and I were born eight weeks early after complications during my mother's pregnancy. Our combined weight was even less than one healthy baby, and at one point I dropped down to 2 pounds 2 ounces.
Twelve days after I was born, I underwent open-heart surgery for a congenital heart defect called Patent Ductus Arteriosus. I remained in the NICU for 7 1/2 weeks and was developmentally delayed for 18 months following.
Now at 27, I suffer no side effects from the surgery except for a rather cool-looking scar across my left shoulder blade, but every year on my birthday, my parents pull out the photo albums to reiterate how tiny and how sick I was. They remind me constantly how fortunate I am to be able to train and compete at the most elite level in the world without any side-effects of my struggles at birth.
How did it start?
In 2010, I was in the middle of my senior season on the NAU Track and Field team when one of the throwing coaches suggested I look into bobsleigh to be a push athlete. Told I was too small to be an asset in the sled, my contact information was forwarded to the skeleton coaches. The rest is history.
So, the Olympics huh? Isn't that hard?
As written in a blog post for the USBSF entitled "The O Word" making the Olympic Team is extraordinarily difficult. With 2-3 sleds per nation in just women's skeleton, that means competing against 15-20 women for those spots. It sounds easy...but it's actually not. In fact, there's more of a chance that an athlete won't make an Olympic roster than will. So why do we even try?
Sports, for me, is a release, a way to express myself, a way to push myself, challenge myself, and learn about myself. Sports is never easy. You win, you lose. You have weeks of success, and then weeks of failures. The valleys explored in skeleton have taught me a lot, but most importantly, it has reminded me time and again that "This, too, shall pass." The good and the bad are temporary, and will not last for long.
The Olympics is a childhood dream, and the chance to pursue that, even with the possiblity of not making a team, is something I'm willing to chase.
The Cost of a Dream
Unlike most countries in the Olympics, the United States athletes do not receive government financial support. Everything is entirely self-funded in the Bobsled and Skeleton Federation. This summer, I have a full time job as a waitress, and a part time job at a convenience store, working between 50-70 hours a week to offset the cost of a full competitive season.
A typical season costs between $10,000 and $20,000. I have listed a layout of estimated prices for a season.
2 pairs of runners $1200
Racing speed suit $800
Baggage Fees for 75lb sled and runners $350-$500 (each way)
European Rental car $2000
American/Canadian car rental $400/week
Accommodations for 9 weeks in Europe $5000
Accommodations for 4 weeks in North America $3000
Race fees $1000
Track fees: $1000
2014-2015 North American Cup Tour
2ND PLACE OVERALL
PARK CITY #1: 4th place
PARK CITY #2: 5th place
CALGARY #3: SILVER
CALGARY #4: SILVER
WHISTLER #5: SILVER
WHISTLER #6: SILVER
CALGARY #7: BRONZE
CALGARY #7: BRONZE
A few people have been instrumental in my successes so far. First and foremost, my strength and conditioning coach, David Bender, has made me into an Olympic level athlete. I've never been as strong and fast, and it's becasue of him and my teammates at Contemporary Athlete that I am now.
Secondly, Holly Guntermann has been a positive influence on my life since kindergarten PE. Thanks to Holly, I have a brand new, world-class sled built exactly for me, which will no doubt be a game-changer for me. I know how fortunate I am to have such a good relationship with a former teacher.
Thirdly, it would be awful if I didn't mention my family, who have been supportive from the start.
Your name could be here, too!
Spread the word!
If you can't donate, you an still help by sharing the link to my rally with your friends and family! Keep up with me via my blog at www.dashofsalter.com. Follow me on Twitter and *like* my Facebook page. If you REALLY want to be ambitious, check out my offical USBSF athlete page!
Select Swag For Your Contribution
$100Postcard from Competition!Thank you! You'll get a personalized thank-you note on a postcard from one of the competition venues of the 2015-2016 season!
$550USBSA T-shirtThank you! You'll receive an official USBSA T-shirt, in the size of your choosing! You'll also receive a postcard from a venue of competition!
$1,000USBSA SweatshirtThank you! You'll receive an official USBSA sweatshirt in the size of your choice!