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Reaching dreams

On the night of March 6th one of my dreams became a reality. I won a run in a World cup race, the first run of the giant slalom, in Are, Sweden.

On the night of March 6th one of my dreams became a reality. I won a run in a World cup race, the first run of the giant slalom, in Are, Sweden.

My dream has been to one day win a first run in a World Cup race, which would make me the 30th racer to start in the second run – the last one at the top.

At the beginning of this race season this dream was still very much just a dream. But, as the season progressed, and I began to attain top results, the dream started to feel like it would soon become a reality.

The day started just like any other race day. I was focused, but relaxed the morning of the race and I stayed relaxed through the afternoon. We had all day to prepare and wait for the race, which was a night giant slalom race. I loaded the lift at 2:45 p.m. The first run took place at 5:30 p.m. and the second at 8:30 p.m.

It is exciting to race under the lights – it feels like the race is a show and we, the racers, are there to entertain the spectators.

What I did well on that day was that I didn't worry about the other racers. I simply focused on my race plan and what I needed to do leading up to my first run. This is key because once I leave that start gate it’s just the course and me!

I was not really looking to win the run, I just made sure that by the time I left the start gate that evening I was ready, mind and body, to perform at my best.

It doesn’t take anything special, no special rituals or lucky charms, just a strong mental focus.

Actually I lie, because the one thing that I have done in every race this year is wear a special hair elastic in my hair. Only a girl would understand!

I do a lot of breathing to focus while I am inside the lodge and also at the start gate. It helps me bring my attention back to the purpose for the day and allows me to block out all the noise that surrounds me. The only thought going through my mind at the start was how I was going to ski this course the fastest I possibly could.

As I came down the course I could hear the commentator on the loud speaker and the excitement rising in his voice. I thought to myself for a split second, "Well I must be having a reasonably fast run!" Then I crossed the finish line, looked up and there it was. The number one was positioned there beside my bid number of 23.

I was surprised and could not believe it at first. But that feeling quickly passed and I felt complete satisfaction in knowing that this was where I belonged.

Fast forward to the second run.

Out of the gate before me is Anja Pearson, the Swedish star. The crowd goes wild; I could hear the cheers right to the top of the course as I stood there waiting to race. But I stayed calm, feeling confident and focussing on my performance.

I left that start gate and I knew that I had to go for it, all or nothing.

I raced that whole course but didn’t come up with the win at the finish line. Still, I finished in fifth place, which is my best GS result to date.

One of my dreams became a reality on that day, and I think that soon my other dreams will follow.

From the first day that I started racing I have had dreams in my mind of winning at all levels, and especially at the World Cup level. Along the way I have set goals every year, preparing myself so that one day my dreams would come true.

My message to all the young racers out there is this: dream big and keep dreaming. Set your goals early and don’t lose sight of them.

As you reach your goals your dreams get closer, and that will make you even more driven to bring your dreams to life.

Every time I leave the start gate after this race, I will strive for my dreams more then ever because I know dreams can come true.

My dreams are also possible because I have a great coach, Jim Pollock, who always finds time to give me those extra training days, like we had a few weeks ago while home in Whistler, and a great ski technician, Tom Penney. They work hard, and both have dreams of seeing me on top of the podium one day. Together they are helping me to make it happen.

My next race is the GS at the World cup finals and then it’s home to Whistler for Canadian championships.

I am looking forward to my next race. I will bring my winning game.