Out Of The Gate (11/27/12)

Steve Langton and Steven Holcomb 
Momentum is a very real and powerful concept to have on your
side and, as of now, the USBSF has just that.

I’m writing today’s post from the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, which has served as my home away from home for the better part of the last six years. With the first three races, and the North American leg of the 2012-13 season in the rear view, I’m thoroughly enjoying a small break, before heading to Winterberg, Germany and La Plagne, France to close out the first half of our season.  The way the season is formatted this year, with incremental breaks and an extended period of time in North America, is much more favorable than previous seasons. Like all sports, momentum is a very real and powerful concept to have on your side and, as of now, the USBSF definitely has just that.

Although we are only three races into a very long World Cup season, I can’t help but find myself energized looking ahead. Through three World Cup stops, my teammates and I have accumulated three victories, two silver medal performances and a fourth place podium. We’ve experienced some large successes over the previous years of this quad, but this is undoubtedly our best start to a competitive season to date. Across the board the USBSF men and women, in both bobsled and skeleton, have won multiple medals and podiums. Performances like these are worked hard for, visualized and expected with an Olympic year on the horizon. Possibly the most encouraging story of the season thus far, pilots Cory Butner, Nick Cunningham, Jazmine Fenlator and their respective teams have all medaled for the first time in their precocious sliding careers. Success, however you might measure it, is always more joyful when you can experience and share it with your teammates and friends. My teammates have worked hard and it’s exciting to see them achieve their goals.

The three victories mentioned above, interestingly enough, have all come in the two-man discipline. Steve Holcomb is actually the first pilot in six years to earn top honors in the first three races of a competitive season. My teammates and I are pushing well and Holcomb has been on fire. With every favorable performance comes confidence and momentum, both of which will be utilized as we compete overseas over the next few months. Our two-Man win in the Lake Placid, the first race of the season, was actually my first World Cup victory in that discipline. Considering the success we had last February in Lake Placid, an individual race victory might seem a little less glorified, but I still consider that conquest a memorable moment in my career.

As an athlete it’s impossible not to want and expect to win every competition you enter, but realistically, the odds of that happening are not in our favor. There are too many variables, more than we are even aware of, and many that we can’t control, which weigh on the outcome of a performance on any given day. What we can do is continue to prepare better than our competitors, focus, believe in ourselves and have confidence in our ability to achieve what we have set out to accomplish.