Monday, April 7, 2014

Team USA visits the White House

Visiting Washington, DC was a great experience to share with Team USA. An opportunity to connect with my Olympic teammates in a relaxed environment.  It was fun to connect with athletes from other sports.  Sharing a private car from the airport with Gold Medalist Maddie Bowman, eating breakfast with the silver medalist bobsled team, going to dinner with the Speedskaters.  The highlight of the trip easily being meeting President Obama and the first lady. First of all we toured the white house and the grounds.  Waiting excitedly as we had before the opening ceremonies as well.  We all shook hands with the president and hugged Michelle with some time for a few words.
I asked if he had ever cross country skid. He hadn't but said he was up for trying it. I said I would take him out if he was ever in Minneapolis. He liked that but reminded me that Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybek had a heart attack cross country skiing at Wirth Park this winter.  I said yeah but he is okay and in the same tweet announcing the heart attack also complimented the excellent ski conditions for the day.  I thanked Michelle for her efforts in encouraging a healthy lifestyle with today's youth and my passion for that as well.
After the white house visit the USA ran an Olympic Summit on the transition from ones athletic career to their professional career.  The white house visit had maybe 200 Olympian and paralympians. To my surprise the symposium had less than 50 participants.  I found the summit to be extremely educational and beneficial with very little fluff.  The small size made for a really personal experience.  Panel discussions included the former CEO of Charles Schwab, Olympic Medalists from many different years and first hand advice on the keys to their success and the mistakes they had made and corrected.  I plan to race another Quad for sure but at some point all athletes will retire from sport and it is important to be prepared for that transition.

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