I’m not quite sure where to start this update, considering everything that has happened in the past several months… It’s been quite the whirlwind since I left you all at the end of January, roughly 9 months ago. Everything is completely different (obviously!), and the year as a whole has certainly been one extended exercise in adjustment to change — individually, nationally, and globally. And with the election looming in the next few days, the end to change seems to be nowhere even remotely on the horizon… (and honestly, I think this is the best possible option for the state of our nation at the moment!)
Despite everything that has happened, I’m thankful for change — and the subsequent challenge to adapt. The coronavirus in particular (in addition to the remainder of my ACL recovery) has left me feeling grateful for each day, first and foremost. As a result of both of these circumstances, I’ve seen numerous silver linings added to my daily life: I have been able to spend more time at home — with family — than I have in years; I’ve had the opportunity to officially start my undergraduate education at Columbia; I’ve learned about who I am without mogul skiing; I’ve come to understand my personal values/beliefs on a deeper and more intense level; I am learning to cope with uncertainty and take everything day by day, rather than obsessively control everything I possibly can. Perhaps that final learning lesson has been the most influential in my everyday life and how I operate on a fundamental level. I’ve learned that thinking (…or worrying) about the future simply takes my focus away from the present moment. Plus, it’s much more fun to focus on little improvements each day and later on, take a look back to see how much I’ve improved in a given area (rather than stressing over what I haven’t yet improved)!
And now, moving on from my wishy-washy abstractions… In classic Olivia fashion, I’m writing this update just before I take off to my first on-snow camp in nearly a year! My teammates and I will soon be flying to Ruka, Finland, where we’ll spend a few days skiing flats before heading over to Idre Fjäll, Sweden for a little while. Towards the end of November, we’ll travel back to Ruka, Finland, for more training (and where my teammates will compete in the first World Cup of the season)! During this camp, though I will not be competing in the first two World Cups of the year (due to the ACL injury I sustained last December), I will be returning to snow (and possibly to mogul skiing!!!) over the course of the camp. Saying that I’m excited to officially re-join the Moguls Team on snow at a camp in Europe is an incredible understatement!! I’d also be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge how hard our staff has worked to make this opportunity possible for all of us in the midst of some ridiculously bizarre times — so a huge thank you is in order for the Moguls Team manager, coaches, and medical staff for all the effort they’ve put in!
Thinking about where I was the last time I even flew overseas (being pushed in a wheelchair through the airport, hah!) in comparison to where I am now has naturally prompted a ton of self-reflection with regards to the journey I’ve been on for most of 2020. (I feel like my writing generally ends up being incredibly cheesy during moments like this, but I must say, I truly feel like I’ve learned a ton! Also, being a cheeseball is clearly in my nature, so we’re just going to embrace this tendency at this point 🙂 !) Given everything that has transpired over the last year or so, I think it’s fair to say that I no longer feel “ready” to handle what’s ahead…I’ve already been handling it all for quite a while now.
The “end result” of getting back to snow in less than a week at this point (!!!) has come together because of all the perseverance, resilience, sweat, persistence, laughs, hard work, and so much more that I’ve poured into my athletic (and personal) journey — not only over the past few months, but also over the course of my entire career. When I had first torn my ACL, the overwhelming response from peers and teammates and coaches fell somewhere along the lines of: “Oh, you’ll be fine! If anyone knows how to grind through something like this, it’s you!” While this line was flattering, I subconsciously utilized it to set inherent expectations for myself — a habit that has defined my existence. In essence, the past nine months has been a day by day struggle of learning to discard expectations in favor of accepting whatever reality may bring, controlling only the controllable, setting my sights on achieving the little things in life, and developing an understanding for my potential to be more than I’d ever dreamed of… Speaking of the simple things, a sudden shift in perspective (as a result of my surgery and inevitably being forced back to the basics of life) made it so that everything — from learning to bend my knee again, to doing baby jumps off the ground, to getting back to jumping on water ramps, to relearning tricks on tramps that I haven’t done in years, to sliding around on snow — became cause for celebration! While frustrating at times, being forced to start from what felt like scratch has ultimately been refreshing.
Furthermore, with every obstacle that comes my way, I have learned to overcome it by figuring out what I need to do, then executing it — but not on my own. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns, that’s for sure! Sometimes, however, all you can do is continue chugging along and trying your best! Of course, this whole “recovery” (physical, mental, and emotional!) wouldn’t have been possible without the awesome support crew I have in my life… My parents have been there for all of the tears and the laughs — and have always been there to pick me up when I’m down. I’ve built a team of family, coaches, friends, mentors, and peers who all inspire me on a daily basis. This, in particular, was something that I didn’t know I needed. I have come to realize that my friendships, and all relationships in my life, are incredibly valuable to me. Each person that I trust in my athletic, academic, and personal life is invaluable to me… and my personal happiness (but that’s just me being a lil selfish)!
Beyond the PT room, too, I made a big effort to do things I wouldn’t normally do (within reason due to COVID, of course) with a “normal” training schedule. I went on a solo road trip; I coached the up and coming generation of mogul skiers on water ramps; I was a bridesmaid in my best friend’s wedding (and gave a speech!); I copyedited my first book; I saw my brother graduate from high school and visited him at college; I picked up a few new hobbies; I saw friends I hadn’t seen in years and made friends that I wouldn’t have met if it weren’t for my injury; I baked waaayyyy too many sweets; and I watched quite a few sunsets along the way 🙃 In doing all of this, I realized that there’s so much outside of skiing that makes me happy, too. There’s so much to be said for a good life balance; however, I’m beyond excited for mogul skiing to be back in the mix. While experiencing life to my fullest, I also realized how deeply I miss the feeling of a dynamic, sharp mogul run split into sections by a few weightless, upside-down moments where time seems to stop completely…and I can’t wait to get back to that feeling SO soon!!
Below is a collection of my favorite moments from the summer/fall…… 🤗
I hope everyone is as well as possible during these unprecedented times. And finally, thanks for reading my abstract, lengthy life update, friends!
All the best,