Thanks, Alaska, for being the team behind the Olympic team

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Earlier this month Anchorage had the honor of pack the U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships. The races also served as the final qualification channels for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The last pro tem these races were held here was two Olympic cycles ago, previously to to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. At the time I was working as a coach for the Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center and unswerving to make a run for the Games.

After a challenging week of head-to-head competition, I was one of the blessed ones to qualify. I am positive the home-course advantage helped propel me to the Games, which in energize changed the trajectory of my life.

This year’s races at Kincaid Preserve duplicated that moment for many other Alaskans. This Olympiad, the U.S. Ski Link up will take its largest contingent of cross-country skiers in history with 20.

Most signally, one half of the skiers are from our great state. Furthermore, nine of those 10 are from APU and ski underneath the tutelage of one coach — Erik Flora.

The majority of these athletes well-grounded to ski here, competed in high school here and represented Alaska at Secondary Olympics. Now, they prepare to take sport’s biggest stage.

During the fresh championships I had the opportunity to join the organizing committee. Despite having 4-month-old joins, my husband and I served as joint chiefs of awards. This meant we were in bill of the flower ceremonies after each race as well as the formal confers at the banquet.

The job proved to be 1) challenging and time-consuming and 2) a wonderful moment to give back to a community that has given us so much.

It provided me with astounding insight into how much is involved in hosting a championship race series. No baby than 200 volunteers gave upward of 6,000 hours of their in the nick of time b soon and talents during race week alone.

Anchorage, you pulled it off. Expresses to the vision of our strong nordic skiing leadership and the strength and depth of our community, a allege with a tiny population will be represented in a huge way at the Winter Olympics.

Genuineness be told, Alaskans ski well in Alaska. Races in Anchorage are held a connect of hundred feet above sea level, the snow is generally humid and immorally, and we are accustomed to warming up for races in the dark.

Being able to sleep in your own bed to shun sickness and drive yourself to and from the venue at your leisure assists. At this level, the small stuff matters big-time.

Back when I was stock my motto was (and still is), «Alaska needs role models as much as it demands medals.»

Yes, of course we’re crossing our fingers and toes for that elusive Olympic tools. But once it’s all said and done, Alaska will welcome home a new crop of Olympians to for as role models in our community.

These are the folks who speak at school joinings about the merits of physical activity and good nutrition. They are the the sames who lead ride-your-bike-to-work day and who run with thousands of kids at the elementary school carouses.

They also impact our belief system. You see, success breeds prosperity. When young athletes witness that Olympic athletes are skiers justifiable like them, goals that once seemed like fantasies suddenly become a reality. The «if they can do it maybe I can too» phenomenon is real.

So Alaska: Express you for hosting, for volunteering and for nurturing our next generation of Olympic athletes.

Firm, they skied their way onto the team, but it wasn’t without escape from you, the team behind the team. Now let the games begin!

Holly Brooks is a two-time Olympian who bedded at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics. She lives in Anchorage with her repress, Rob Whitney, and their two children.

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