Brittany Bowe is a long track speedskater who transitioned to the ice in 2010 after successful careers in inline skating and basketball. Since making her Olympic debut in 2014, Bowe has earned the title of world champion four times – twice at the world sprint championships, as well as in the 1,000-meter and 1,500-meter. She has also earned two silver and three bronze world championship medals, as well as the title of grand world cup champion in 2016. Bowe is writing for TeamUSA.org on her journey to the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
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As athletes, it is easy to become consumed in training; after all, that is what we are here to do. Each day matters and everything we do counts. I feel very fortunate to be a part of a team (the US Speedskating Long Track National Team) where everyone is deliberate in executing great training sessions and brings focus to each workout. Over the past four years, we have grown into a family — we know each other’s strengths, weaknesses and what each person can bring to the table. In addition to all of the hard work that we put in during training, I believe our team is successful because of the balance we exude. Yes, our sport requires a great deal of balance on the ice, but the balance that I am speaking about lies within our lifestyles.The life of an Olympic athlete can become a stressful one — day in and day out you are training and competing at the highest level. It can become a very cutthroat atmosphere, especially as the countdown to the Olympic Games is on. When faced with a challenge — whether it be facing an injury, struggling to make technical gains or securing your spot on the world cup (or, in this year’s case, Olympic) team — it seems like the clock begins to tick faster and faster. I think everyone can relate to this no matter where their workplace may be — when an important deadline or event approaches, you want to feel prepared, confident and healthy.
Of course this is just my opinion, but it is the balance between life inside and outside of the skating rink that leads to happiness and success. Over the course of the summer, my teammates and I put in hard work on the bike, in the weight room and on the ice. We have pushed each other to new limits and have raised our level of fitness and skating. We have also shared many moments off the ice together that are priceless.
Some of my greatest memories from this summer are with my teammates, who feel like family. Based in Salt Lake City, the national team is spoiled with a backyard full of mountains and trails, and when time allows, that is where you’ll find us. Living in a world and training environment that is so fast-paced, stepping outside and slowing things down helps me recover mentally. Camping, hiking and being on the water are a few things that bring balance and calmness to me both physically and mentally.
On one hand, being an Olympic athlete has pushed me past the limits that I thought were possible, both physically and mentally. On the other hand, it has shown me the importance of slowing things down, which has really made me appreciate and enjoy the natural beauty of the place I currently call home. Whether it’s a night spent under the starlit sky of the High Uintas or soaking in natural hot springs, finding ways to relax and unwind play an important role in my training, in my recovery and in my life.