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Forever An Olympian (4/9/14)

BY SARAH HENDRICKSON


It’s hard to believe it has almost been a full two months since the start of the Games in Sochi. As I mentioned in my last blog, I had another surgery and three week after, my knee is finally starting to feel normal. My doctor actually told me to go alpine skiing as an exercise for quad activation. With this news I was very excited to ski again and not AS upset with the extended winter conditions that Utah has endured.

Meanwhile, this past week my teammate Jessica Jerome and I got to tag along with the rest of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams to visit Washington, D.C. After every Olympic and Paralympic Games, the team is invited to take a tour of the White House and meet the president and first lady. It really is a huge honor to be invited to something like this and it reminds you that as an Olympian you are forever a part of this exclusive group.

My trip began at the Capitol, where I met the Senators of Utah which was a very cool opportunity. Senators Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch were both very interested in our trip to Sochi and the experiences we had while competing. I love sharing everything that happened and being with other athletes from all the different disciplines. I had an amazing time in Sochi despite my results, and it’s cool to share that with those on the outside.

That night everyone attended the Best of U.S. award ceremony that included awards to special athletes and teams for their performances in Sochi. Everyone dressed up and it was really cool to see people outside their competition attire and mode. It was a fantastic night and all the awards were well-deserved and I loved cheering on the fantastic people of Team USA for an amazing Games.

Finally the day had arrived to visit the White House. Everyone had the pleasure of exploring a wing of the House and the outside lawns, which were absolutely beautiful. In the afternoon everyone lined up to meet the man himself. Shaking President Obama’s hand and hugging Michelle was very magical. Both of them knew about the women’s ski jumping story and our fight to get included, making all our hard work worth it. Both seemed like such amazing, down-to-earth people and you could really tell how proud they were of all the athletes. This trip will forever be one of the top memories and I was honored to have this opportunity. 

After flying home from D.C., my wonderful hometown of Park City held an Olympic parade to celebrate its athletes. We had an outstanding turn out and it gave me chills to see how excited both kids and parents were with all the Olympians on site. Park City is one of the main reasons I was able to reach the level I have because of their support and maintenance of the world-class facilities. The smiles and cheers from all those who came out to support, despite the snowy weather, reminded how proud I have to be for what I have accomplished. It’s crazy to think that I am forever an Olympian in the eyes of my supporters. Thanks to everyone who made these two events possible; the athletes do appreciate these opportunities!