Journey To The 2010 Winter Olympics

Friday, November 24, 2006

Skeleton School to Traffic School

As soon as I wrote about the warm weather it turned cold. The temperature dropped almost as fast as a 4-man bobsled screaming out of Benham's Bend into the chicane. Once the crew rebuilt the track and after a two day break from sliding, we got back on the ice Saturday and Sunday night. We were divided into two groups based on a team push competition held the day before; group one took two runs from Start 3 while group two watched the carnage down the track at Turn 11. I was in that lucky second group which put a little more edge on the rest of the night!

Saturday was our third session on the ice and after the Start 3 runs we headed up to Start 1. I'll admit it. The fear factor the first time off the top was intense and nothing could have prepared me for the speed, the pressure on my body and head/ helmet and the inability to see/ react to what was coming at me on the track. I was at the mercy of the Devil's Highway, The Labyrinth and The Heart. In the words of my fellow student Heather, "It was wicked fun."

The highlight of sliding for me was my first run on Sunday. I was sliding (relatively) well and as I came to a stop on the Outrun there were people on the platform cheering and calling my name. Ecstatic with my run and the noise, I popped up off of my sled and thrust my arms in the air! My friends, Lawrence and Aimee, who live in Glens Falls, NY, had come up to take in the night's heats. In that moment I thought, "I could get used to this/ I can do this." After the open air truck ride back to the top, the recruiter approached me and extended an invitation to join the USA Skeleton Development Team which begins with a sliding session in January. The feeling of accomplishment was great as I'd been working toward that invitation since March, but it was short lived. I've just gained the opportunity to become an elite athlete in an Olympic Sport. I've got a lot of work to do and I can't wait.

A quick note on my performance: I shaved about 0.15s off of my push time since August to 5.36s and was in the top 3/13 in top speed and downtimes on the track.

As you know, the pursuits of the amateur athlete are not without hardship. Aside from the obvious physical and mental challenges and daily sacrifice, the economics of the Olympic dream are very difficult and prevent many capable athletes from achieving their goals. Financing is a huge obstacle for me and I can't do it without sponsorship. In the Reading This Site post is a sponsorship card that makes donating easy. Just click on it and print! To date, I've raised $1,300 of my $12,000 goal and I have a very short window in which I need to give IUS notice on next semester and get geared up for January.

Now, I'll address the title of this entry. The day after getting back from New York where I was clocked at speeds in excess of 60mph on a sled and encouraged to go fast, I got a speeding ticket for driving my car 44mph in a 25mph zone. The officer didn't appreciate the irony.


  • Jay,
    How great it is to see you with all the sliders and to see that smile on your face. You are destined for greatness, never forget that. Sorry to hear about the ticket man. You would think he would have given you a break trafffic school is not as bad as some say. We love ya brother. You have not made it thus far to hit a wall and not keep going forward. Not talking about the wall of ice of course!!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:07 PM  

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