There are only 100 Days until the opening of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games and I am STOKED! It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me, I am a HUGE fan of the Olympics. As a swimmer who competed on a national level I am partial to the summer games, oh and then there is that whole thing with Ryan Lochte but, hey, I do not discriminate – if you put in enough blood, sweat and tears to make it to the Olympics more power to you! I love the Olympics so much I even got choked up listening James Patterson’s latest book Private Games about the London games. These lines from chapter 107 really got to me because even though they were in a fictional book they ring true:
“You can not snuff out the Olympic spirit because it doesn’t exist in any one place. It is carried in the hearts of every athlete who has ever striven for greatness and it always will be.”
I was never an Olympian and never will be but I have been fortunate enough to meet a few. White studying at Georgetown I met four Olympic gold medalists at an event sponsored by Deloitte. Deloitte had teamed up the United States Olympic Committee to bring world-renowned athletes to 10 college campuses across the country and mine was lucky enough to be one of them.
At the time I was a photographer for the school paper and just pretended like I was on assignment getting super close to these phenomenal athletes. I snapped a few hundred photos with my DSLR during the talk and then insisted that I just needed to have pictures with all of the Olympians afterwards. Obviously.
Long Track Speed Skater Shani Davis
“You have what it takes. The hard work has been done. Now go on autopilot. Have confidence and believe in yourself. Relax, enjoy yourself and don’t be nervous. This is what it got me.”
Snowboarder Kelly Clark
“The pipe was the best it’s been yet and I rode the best I’ve ridden all season. My backside fives have been giving me problems all year but I was able to put it together. I kept it clean and maintained my style and it all came together.”
Paralympic Hockey Player Andy Yohe
“The key to playing disabled sports is to work hard, stay positive, and don’t be afraid to take chances. You will never know if you can’t do something if you don’t try it.”
Oh, and the greatest winter Olympian of all time?
Yes, that’s me and Apolo Anton Ohno
Meeting these athletes was a tremendous honor, only a few months after they won their medals in Vancouver. It is crazy that these photos were taken three and a half years ago but that means we have another winter Olympics coming our way soon! This will be the one time my TiVo is filled to the max especially with my favorite event at the winter games – the half pipe. I am ready to see Shawn White kill it again plus I love both his Twitter and Instagram accounts!