Me and my teammates in Red Square in 2011
Me and Kiley slack lining in Lake Placid

Almost exactly one-year out from the Olympic Winter Games and the snow and ice sports have gathered in Sochi, Russia, for their respective official test events.  Sochi is located at the southwest corner of Russia on the Black Sea.  I’ve never been to Sochi but my teammates told me that there are palm trees!  I find it amazing that a place with palm trees is hosting the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Hannah Kearney won her event in Sochi!  Kiley McKinnon, who was my roommate at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, and is also my aerials teammate, placed fifth!  This is her best finish yet!  This event is a huge confidence booster going into the Olympic year.  As an athlete you learn about the weather and snow conditions of the area.  For aerials, understanding the wind patterns is a big advantage.  It was very difficult for me to wait around for the result of my teammates at the next Olympic site. And since I’m learning Russian, I’m sure they missed out on having a translator!

I’ve been to Russia once before for a World Cup competition in Moscow. I loved the country and using my language skills, well sort of…I had to ask for ice at one point.  So I practiced what I was going to say and picked up the hotel phone.  I successfully asked the concierge to bring ice.  I hung up the phone and Emily, my teammate, asked me what she had replied with and I had no idea!  Listening is apparently much harder than speaking, so I’ve been working hard on my skills since then.

While I missed out on learning the ins-and-outs of Sochi, the excitement building up of going back in 2014 will be inspiring for me.  This is what I’ve thought about for all the things I’ve been missing out on this year.  The more I miss it, the better it will be to go back! 

До скорой встречи, Россия! (See you soon, Russia!)

You can also follow my journey on Twitter: @AshleySkis.