Saturday, February 15, 2014

Cheering, Sunshine and Redemption

This was my face after the sprint race, as I was looking at the results screen.  I was disappointed.  
But luckily its hard to stay unhappy for too long when you're at the Olympics and also when its sunny and beautiful every day.  (My mood is very dependent on the weather).  

Source: Harry How/Getty Images Europe 

How could you be unhappy when this is the view out your window?

photo: Sadie Bjornsen

Luckily I had some good races to watch and cheer on my friends in.  I got to cheer on Ida in her sprint heat, and then we got to cheer on Sophie in the final together.  I got decked out in all my most patriotic clothing and had a lot of fun cheering in the sun.

And then that same night I got to cheer on my teammates in the pursuit race.  Here are a bunch of fans (mostly Russian) lining the course.  

The stadium was packed for the pursuit, and the sky was beautiful as usual. 

The course was slushy and slow and it looked like a hard race.  But it was also really hard for me to watch it--I wanted to be in there racing!  It made me really hungry to race again.  

But I was able to channel my frustration into trying to have really good training sessions, and focussing on both my approach to shooting and my ski technique.  I made a plan for keeping myself a little more conscious and patient when I came into the shooting range, and I tried to practice shooting that way, and visualize doing it in a race.  I was really looking forward to getting to race again in the 15k Individual.  

Just another Sochi sunset.

A valentines day full moon!

Harry How/Getty Images Europe

And then came the Individual race!  I was more nervous than before the sprint, because I felt like it was my last chance to have a good race in an individual competition.  I really wanted to do well.  But I also felt good about my plan for shooting, as well as for pacing the hard race.  The Individual is the longest biathlon race.  You ski five 3k loops and you shoot four times.  The 3k course here in Sochi is super hilly and hard, and I definitely didn't want to go out too hard.  But I also knew that I didn't want to let it intimidate me!  

In the end, the race came together just as I'd planned and hope for.  I paced myself well and had my best skiing times of any race this year.  And I had 1 miss in the first shooting, then no misses in the second and third, and then 1 in the final shooting, for only two misses, which is really good for me!!  I skied as hard as I could, almost lost my balance going around the final turn of the race, and ended up in 23rd place.  That is my best placing in a world cup-level race ever...but at least 30 places.  I feel like I've been close to a good result for a long time, but it just kept evading me.  After I finished last night, I couldn't help thinking "Yes! Finally!!!". 

This is by far the highest that my biathlon rollercoaster ride has taken me.  And it was so much fun, and I hope to start making this sort of race my new norm!!

Richard Heathcote/Getty Images Europe

Ida, Susan and I pose for a "Craftsbury girl" picture on the rings!!


  1. Best of luck to you. You are a distant (very distant) cousin of mine. I wish you all the luck in the world and hope you come home with a metal.
    Bob Hersh-Geer from Dunning Nebraska.

  2. Congratulations Hannah! I love your attitude and positive approach. All the best to you!