Since the morning of January 27th I have felt an immense amount of disappointment. As many of you may know I recently became an alternate for the speed events at the Olympics in Vancouver. I have never in my life felt so crushed and defeated. For an entire week I dreaded coming home to Big Sky feeling like I let down the community that has stuck with me through injuries, success and failure.
I thought tirelessly about what I would say to my fellow Montanans, my family and my friends. How would they react to my failure? I sat in my room for four days feeling sorry for myself, sleeping, eating and crying. I felt too ashamed to show my face in public. It’s a hard bit of information to swallow; however, I tell you this because honestly it is what I did and how I felt. I’ve got nothing to hide. I felt distraught and hopeless. I wanted nothing to do with the sport that has always been my passion. As you can clearly see, I had zero perspective on the situation.
On the fourth day of my self-destructive behavior my sister called me, said the snow in Big Sky was phenomenal and, “Get up here and make some turns!” Driving the familiar mountain road to Big Sky, I smiled, unforced, for the first time in a week. Walking into the Arrowhead Mall to the second floor I was cheerfully greeted by the Lone Mountains Sports team. Amongst the greetings all I could hear, “Keely we are so proud of you!” Throughout the morning I was scheming in my head what I would say to everyone that has supported me for so long. Turns out, making the Olympic team or not, I still had the people I love most in the world care about me.
I have been free skiing in Big Sky every day since. Everyone who greets me on the mountain, whether they know me or not, show unbelievable support. On Valentines Day I got the last tram ride with seven-year-old Michael Romney. It happened to be his first time on the tram and with a huge gleaming smile he asked my name. When I told him, his dad got excited and preceded to tell me that Michael is my biggest fan and he never misses a Keely’s Corner. Moments like these put everything into perspective.
So many times athletes base their self worth on results and team selections. I am no different. There have been a lot of days where my mood would go sour over hundredths and tenths of a second. Nevertheless, I would not have made it to the World Cup without always searching for the podium. What I can say: it is the people, the places and the experiences I’ve gained in the world through ski racing that will outlast long in my memory before a result.
I want to thank the Big Sky Community, my family and my friends for constantly supporting my goals in ski racing. It would not be possible without you! Thank you for being apart of my journey!