BY JULIE CHU
The start of any journey comes with anticipation, excitement and perhaps a little nervousness about the uncertainty of what is to come. And so as we officially begin the 2013-14 Olympic residency year, I am filled with a mix of every emotion possible. We have been dreaming of this Olympic year since the final buzzer went off in the gold-medal game of the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games (Feb. 25, 2010) — a moment in which we fell short of our ultimate goal of winning gold.
Since the Sochi Olympic tryouts ended on June 24, 2013, 25 of us have been blessed to continue on this incredible Olympic journey. And so, in the weeks that followed an emotionally and physically draining tryout, we have had time to decompress, to refocus and, ultimately, to get back to work. For July and August, we did just that. Many of us returned home for most of July to train and to organize our lives before making the move to Boston, where we will be having our residency program this upcoming year. The time away was good for us all to reconnect with friends and family, as well as to build an eagerness to be together full-time at the end of August.
For me, in preparation of the year to come, I moved to Concord, Mass. again at the beginning of August, to train full time with teammates already living in the Boston area. Since then, more teammates have slowly trickled into town to settle into their new homes for the year and to get ready for the start of residency. With each new teammate joining our training group, the excitement of the year continues to build. It’s particularly fun to see the first workout newly-moved teammates make, because they are met with many smiles and big hugs. These days feel as if our family is becoming whole again as we get closer to having all 25 of us in Boston.
As a team, we can find confidence in the preparation and dedication we have shown over the past three years. We have made huge strides in that time and worked to create a culture of shared accountability and shared team goals. And yet, the most challenging moments are still before us. In the months to come, we must find strength to give more to our training and to our team than we have before. We can acknowledge what has been accomplished so far, but we can by no means become complacent in the success and the strides we have experienced. The challenge of every elite team is consistently asking more of ourselves each day and not only asking but doing. We are at the brink of an amazing adventure ahead and every moment matters.
“Our actions today may make the difference between success or failure tomorrow,” Michael Useem