There And Back Again (10/31/12)

Steve Langton trains
 "With that belief, it is my goal to enter each season,
knowing that I am better prepared than I was the previous year."

With every season that passes, I always seem to find myself amazed at how fast the off-season that directly follows it, flies by. In what seems like the blink of an eye, I find myself preparing for yet another competitive season.  Last year ended in storybook fashion, with Team Night Train and the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation winning the World Championships in both the two- and four-man disciplines in Lake Placid, New York. To say it was surreal would be an understatement. As I look ahead to the pre-Olympic season, which will end with a test even on the 2014 Olympic track in Sochi, Russia, I find both confidence and comfort knowing that our first race this year will be on the very same track where we had so much success this past February.

The movie Groundhog Day is frequently referenced, regarding to a bobsledder’s training during the off-season. During the months between May and September, the majority of my teammates, myself included, lift, run, eat, recover and sleep, only to wake up and do some combination of those five things all over again. Although the training is monotonous and tedious at times, at the end of the day, I truly love what I do. I treat each off-season as an opportunity to take a step back, assess the past year, and improve. From my first competitive season in 2007, sliding with now-coach, Mike Kohn, to now, I’ve learned quite a bit about myself and the sport of bobsled.  Now as I find myself half way through my second quad, I use that knowledge to consciously make changes, with the hope that they will positively affect my impact as an athlete and a teammate. Pertaining to training, I firmly believe that there is always something that you can do better. With that belief, it is my goal to enter each season, knowing that I am better prepared than I was the previous year.

With the annual USBSF Combine and Push Championships earlier this month came a plethora of talented athletes on both the men’s and the women’s side. Rookies and seasoned veterans, alike, were both impressive and hungry. The results of both were a testament of exactly that. The sport is constantly changing and growing, and it’s very exciting to be a part of that. I’d be hard-pressed not to say that collectively, this is the most talented group of athletes I’ve ever had the honor of calling teammates. That being said, I’m both anxious and energized for the fast approaching season’s start, as we certainly have the talent to do extremely well.

As I’m writing this blog, I find it ironic that exactly four years ago to the day, my sliding career was in a much different place. I was in Nashville, Tennessee having corrective hip surgery, which, in retrospect, saved my career. Having missed the pre-Olympic season in 2009 and the opportunity to race on the Whistler track that season, I find myself very eager to participate in February’s test even in Sochi, Russia. I also find myself more appreciative for the opportunity I have been given to represent my country and compete alongside and against the best in the world.