Public Speaking
Mellisa's Diary

Konigssee brings change

This week in Konigssee, Germany has flown by! After an extremely emotional week in Altenberg, Germany I took a timeout and spent a day in Igls, Austria with my boyfriend Paul who was racing on the Europa cup circuit. A big snowstorm rolled in and the race I travelled to watch got cancelled so I was actually able to have a full day off, exactly what I needed to reenergize, collect my thoughts and be ready to race. The mood of the team was pretty low after the devastating crash with our bobsleigh team and a disappointing race in Altenberg. Not to mention we haven’t seen the sun since we left Calgary New Years Eve. Usually Konigssee has beautiful blue skies with majestic mountain peaks, but we would soon find out that our natural source of Vitamin D would be limited again. If there is one thing I have learned by living this travelling lifestyle it’s that I need to live in a place where we have sunshine!!! I much rather have blue sky & -20C than grey flurries and 0C.

I had great training this week listening to my coach Duff and changing some of my lines that I have used for my entire career. Its crazy how we are creatures of habit and sometimes so called “experience” or “age” can be a detriment to your success. I found myself nervous and leery to try something new because I was in the rut of just doing the same old thing. I was standing in Kreisel  (360 degree corner and possibly the hardest corner in the entire world) one day and fellow competitor Katherine Eustace asked me “are you still learning?” I wasn’t sure if I should have been embarrassed by my answer but I said “yes”. As a matter of fact I am learning so much this season from my coach Duff. I had a hard time last year with the transition from my German coach to Canadian coach. I was the type of athlete that just wanted to be told what to do and when to do it. Duff and I have come a long way with our communication over the last 2 seasons and I am finally grasping on to what he has been teaching… the “Geometry” of the ice. Its rare that we actually talk steers, its all about pressures and profiles. That way I rely completely on my reactions and it will never matter what kind of entry I have in a corner I will have the understanding of the ice to handle the profiles.

Unfortunately my new way of driving the Konigssee track didn’t work in my favor for the race.  Even with costly mistakes in the Kriesel corner I made my way into the Bronze medal position. I was told it was the 30th World cup medal of my career. After having some time to allow myself to be angry at how I performed, I was able to look at the bigger picture. I am extremely fortunate to be doing what I do… Having sport as my career that takes me around the world and meeting awesome people and learning things about life that you can’t through a textbook. I needed to give myself a swift kick in the butt for being so angry about my sliding. It then dawned on me that I do care. And this is the fuel that will be necessary to carry me to my goal of being back on the Olympic podium in Sochi in 2 years time.

Here’s a highlight from our race http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALLjoRbXJ4o&list=UUkr7c8lwpup_LfDV7hOQWsg&index=5&feature=plcp

The day following my race I got a 2nd opportunity to call the men’s skeleton race for TV. Again I found myself grateful for how safe I exited the Kriesel turn during my race, even if I ruined my speed. The absolute carnage I saw during the men’s race gave me a newfound respect for that difficult corner. Even the men’s reigning World cup leader Martins Dukurs crashed out of the corner to end his winning streak at 8 races in a row. Honestly Martins is my absolute favorite athlete… He put it all out on the line and I really admire him for taking the risk that was necessary to take back the lead… Here’s the men’s highlights http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yauBV9jJ7qk&list=UUkr7c8lwpup_LfDV7hOQWsg&index=3&feature=plcp

We’ve just arrived to St. Moritz, Switzerland to the land of the rich and famous! We stick out like sore thumbs in our dirty Adidas gear amongst the tourist in their fur coats and Bentley’s… It’s the most unique track in the world being the only natural track that exists. The track is slightly different every year because the walls and profiles are built out of the snow and ice down the mountain using trees as support structures. It is definitely a privilege to be here and I promise you I will be enjoying every moment of this special place. We race Friday at 850am European time so cheer loud for the Canadians!

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Photography Credits: Ewan Nicholson, Candice Albach & Charlie Booker Website by COWS / EDJE