I have no history of being involved in this sport, but this past summer I found myself as the youngest athlete ever invited to the USA Bobsled and Skeleton rookie camp at the age of 17 years old. This all came to be due to a long held fascination and desire to be a world class athlete, however Skeleton had never been in the picture until recently. For most of my youth up until now, sports like track and football have helped me develop my athleticism. Then came an opportunity to step up my level of competition. Last spring I learned of combines that were being held in the summer by the USA Bobsled and Skeleton Federation that were assessing all of my best qualities as an athlete, so I thought why shouldn't I at least try out. Of course, the nearest combine was halfway across the country, so a lot of convincing had to be done for my parents to let me go, which ultimately ended in failure as my summer was already planned with several college trips as I am preparing to graduate high school in 2019.
However, hope was not lost because luckily I was already going to be in Colorado Springs for a summer program at the Air Force Academy- a location of one of the combines- the same weekend as the combine. I was the youngest there by at least 4 years, surrounded by college athletes and military officers. Regardless, we all had to meet the same standard that day to be invited to rookie camp. It seemed out of reach looking at the athletes around me but I told myself at least I'd have a cool story to share about the time I tried to pursue an Olympic dream. To my surprise, as the combine went on, I realized I was keeping up, if not outpacing, many of the athletes there. In the end, I tallied up my points and realized, unbelievably, that I had exceeded the required points to receive an invitation to rookie camp. Still, I wasn't sure I would be invited, being so much younger and a bit smaller than everyone else. And then one morning I received an email from the USABS coach that said "we believe you have what it takes to represent the red white and blue".
I attended rookie camp in August the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, New York, again thinking I would leave there with a great story to share, perhaps something I could include on my college applications. But as each day went by I realized, I can really do this! I learned the art of skeleton racing and how to push a sled, finding myself in the middle of the pack of elite athletes from around the country. And as we were wrapping up I learned I was the youngest athlete to ever be invited to rookie camp. It still almost doesn't feel real.
Here I am today, working with my high school that will allow me to travel for training this winter while still completing my senior year of school, filling out college applications and now a rookie member of Team USA, looking to meet the training requirements this winter on the ice to be able to compete in the Skeleton National Championships in March 2019, bringing me one step closer to representing the United States of America in the Winter Olympics. Slowly my dream is becoming more and more real, but there is a lot of hard work ahead of me. I have so much to learn and oh yeah, I need to graduate high school and get accepted into college. I am up to the task, but welcome your support to help me on my journey. Thank you for reading my story and thank you for your support!
DonationsSee top donations
- Shannon Kneisler
- Patsy Robb
- Carol Covert
- Sharon Hennessy
- Chelsea Groess
Organizer and beneficiary
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more