Qualifiers

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I know it’s only been a day since my last post, but it was a big day and I wanted to put the whole story out there myself. I skipped the 3rd day of practice to rest my heel and then went up for the event. Originally, I thought only 2 girls were going to make it straight to finals in my heat. I was okay with that. I knew that the competition was rough and that with less practice and a bruised heel, the chances of me doing that were slim. I was going to take my drop and then really go for it on Sunday. Things changed when I heard that they were going to take 4 people from my heat into the final. I knew that with a decent but clean run, I’d be able to get in there. I got in my head that I would be able to go out, ride through the pain, put down a run, and be in the final.

I’d almost entirely convinced myself of that case-scenario until I tried putting my boot on, tightening it, and walking up to the start of the course. I was stubborn. The pain was there but it was bearable. I’d been resting for 48 hours. When Bill and our ATC, Jason, asked me if I was going to hit anything for practice/the event I told them, “yeah”, to which Jason replied “…no, you’re not.” and I said, “wanna bet?”

Strapping in was tough since tightening my heelstrap puts pressure on my heel. Still, I figured I’d at least try to take a practice run and see how I felt before I just gave up for the day.

I dropped in. The first part of the rail section was uncomfortable but not as bad as I thought it would be. Then I got to the 2nd part of the rhythm section. I hit the flat down, which is pretty high at the end. I came off a little early too and dropped a few feet to the relatively flat pitch. My heel hurt but I kept riding and went into the pole jam. When I landed that I started biting my facemask. I hit the first jump and went into the second one completely loaded up on my back foot, not wanting to put any weight on my front. I evened myself out on the take off, hit the jump, went a little big, and landed. The impact from the other features and that jump (especially considering I went a little bit big) was too much. I went straight to my back foot, slid out, and went around the 3rd jump.

I was stupid. At that point, the rest that I’d had was pretty much out the window. I was fully hobbling again heading over to the lift but I went back for more. I REALLY wanted to compete and still somehow had it in my head that if I just figured out the speed in practice I’d be able to send the tricks in the contest. I got to the top, completely ignored Bill’s questions about how I was feeling and what I was going to do, and dropped in again to a very similar run, except this time I legitimately fell over by the time I landed the 2nd jump. I couldn’t even one-foot up the next jump to get off of the course. I started crawling. This was when I knew that I shouldn’t compete. Even if I were able to hit the features, even if I did land a run (however unlikely that would have been), how would those 3 or 4 extra runs have affected how my heel would feel on Sunday?

I made it to the top again and nearly started to cry. Yesterday was not how I imagined the Olympics to be for me. I haven’t been dreaming of taking that run since I was 8. I wanted to go out there, do my absolute best, and be proud to be representing the United States. Instead I received the lowest score you can possibly get and felt like I didn’t even try. I know that it was the smart decision. I know that I could have potentially gotten more injured if I didn’t listen to my body, but the situation still sucks. Most people don’t really understand the importance of this event for me; 99% of the population doesn’t have that one thing that they’ve wanted more than anything for more than half their life. I did have that thing, and yesterday did not live up to my expectations. I did not go out there and live my dream.

When I got to the bottom of my run, someone from the media at the bottom asked me “Are you embarrassed?” to which I responded something about my injury and how I’m going to come back on Sunday. At that point, my real and truthful answer would have been “Yeah I am. I obviously didn’t make it here with the skill-set that I demonstrated in that run. Anybody who gets a score of 1.00 is going to be embarrassed. I’m embarrassed about my injury and embarrassed of the show that I put on for all of my friends and family back home watching.” I came to the conclusion that I need to get over myself. If this were any other event, it wouldn’t have even been a question whether or not I was going to compete. Listening to your body and doing what’s best for you as an athlete and as a competitor is 1,000 times more important than putting yourself in a compromising position because you’re doing what other people expect you to do.

So, to Mr. Reporter Guy: Are you embarrassed that you watched a 16-year-old-girl who’s competing at the Olympics limp off the course after her run and tried make her feel self-conscious about her performance?

My coach said something to me before I took my run that really helped. He said “the Olympics doesn’t start today for you”. That’s the new way I’m looking at it. I didn’t compete yesterday. I compete on Sunday for my spot in finals, and I’ll hopefully compete in finals for a place on the podium. If yesterday were the day of finals, I would have tried my best to do something. But, given the fact that just by getting that 1.00 I was able to give myself a better shot on Sunday, I had to weigh what I would gain and what I would lose. | Gain: 2 days of rest, a better chance in the next round, the opportunity to really show the world what I can do | Loss: round 1, a bruised ego | The best way to look at what happened yesterday is to treat it like a necessary meeting I needed to attend in order to compete.

I’m moving forward and into Sunday’s competition with my head high. I am excited to really show what I’ve got to the world and debut my riding. Thanks again to everybody for the love and support. Keep those happy healing thoughts coming!

Straight from Sochi,

-Ty Walker

P.S. I don’t want anybody to be confused about what my injury actually is. I have a bruise on my knee. I have a very similar looking one on my forearm/elbow. Those injuries are not a problem to me. I don’t have “a bruise on my heel”. I wish that I did. I have a severe heel contusion and damage to the soft tissue within my heel that is causing free fluid to build up within it. It’s not an uncommon injury in snowboarding, but outside of the sport I understand that it might sound like I have a black and blue. In reality, the skin itself is not really bruised. The soft tissue that’s deeper within my foot that protects my bone is bruised and aggravated. A black-and-blue would not have stopped me from taking my runs, believe me.

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19 comments

  1. ty- you are being smart and SHOULD hold your head up high. we are all ( speaking for cawley tribe and alot of stowe folks) sososo proud of you and your accomplishments so far. trust us… we got yer back! keep doing what you’re doing- take this little bit of time and concentrate on healing YOU! xx
    ps. a swarm of bees to that reporter.

  2. Keep pushing Ty! All of Vermont is proud of you! I’m going to have my 10 and 7 year old shredders read this. Being an Olympian is about setting an example. And you’re crushing it!!! Good luck Sunday. We will all be cheering for the home town girl

  3. VERY well said!!! Everyone is so proud of you and wishes you NOTHING but the best! You have an AMaZING light inside of you that radiates love, life, and an amazing strength. Hold onto that 💖it will carry you through. (Big hugs & healing vibes)

  4. Ty,
    Don’t be embarrassed you put your intellect in front of your ego. Most people, including that reporter, do not understand that. Take care of yourself while your friends, family, and fans pray for your recovery.

  5. Soo proud that you are there! What a friggin champ! None of the media or spectators have a clue about what you are going through! Thank you for sharing!! We continue to cheer for you and pray for quick healing to your tissue!!! Love from Cambridge Vermont!

  6. yesterday, Russian commentator said ” I don’t know why she not jumping, I think she have little damages”. But i and my school believe you, because you young like we. Good luck! Collect gold medals!
    p.s. I’m sorry if my english be bad

  7. I went to elementary school with your Aunt Dawn (Jordan) and I’ve been following her posts. I think it’s awesome that you’re in Sochi at the Olympics! You’re very mature for a 16-year-old and that will take you far. You’ve already realized your dream of making it to the Olympics! The rest is just icing on the cake, Ty! I wish you the best!

  8. Hi Ty, Here’s a mantra for you…heel heal. You are one courageous girl! My hope for you is that you attain your dream. Rest up, chin up, and slather arnica on your injuries. Best of luck! Peg

    .

  9. Your a true Olympian. I am so proud of what you have accomplished. There is no reason to be embarrassed your a great rider, not to many people would have been as polite as u were to that reporter, he hasn’t a clue what it took for u to do that run and should be ashamed of himself for asking a stupid question like that nested of saying can I help you ass hole

  10. Wow! I’m not even sure what 2 say…Rest up, girlfriend, and give it some serious hell!! I truly hope u r able to achieve what you’ve dreamed of half your life! I can’t even imagine…

  11. Your great Aunt Rita wants you to know that whatever the outcome, the family is very proud of you. Uncle Joe always admired your strength and you have brought sunshine in our lives again just by making it there. Good Luck and we are there with you! xoxo

  12. Tonight after watching Prime Time, I wanted to learn more about this crazy girl who would battle pain so intense, and possible injure her self even more. After reading your posts I’ve decided to begin the next two weeks of my Fourth grade class with what I’m going to call “Olympic Heroes 2014″ Each day I will pick a story to share with my class of forth graders to highlight the effort, bravery, strength, and perseverance of our amazing athletes. You Miss. Ty are the inspiration for this little project I’m going to start. I thank you for representing our country, and your sport with such dignity that you battled that course with. I can’t wait to show my students what it means to power through and never give up ! :) I hope your recover is quick and adds to your amazing strength.

  13. Hello, Ty, your darling parents were nice enough to leave a lovely hat of yours for me
    at Edelweiss, and they were on their way to Sochi to cheer and be there for you! Thank
    them for me, and thank YOU for being so terrific at your sport so that my husband and I
    could cheer you on!! You are one smart, brave gal, and the whole town is very proud of
    their “GEM” named TY! You are young with lots of opportunities, and a wonderful group
    of fans from all over the US. Please know that we are thinking of you and hope you heal
    fast – your run was great!! Make the Olympic experience special, as I know you will meet
    lots of super friends from all over the world, who will be easy to keep in touch with. We know
    that you wear the uniform proudly ~ you have worked SO hard. You will be known by
    many great people now and you are only 16!! Just think ~ so many wonderful times are
    ahead of you!! Enjoy the GAMES! You are such a credit to all of us!!

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