10 May 2012

Off-Season Opportunities

I am alive and well, haha...my lack of posts lately has been from a dedication to school the last 8 weeks at Wheaton College where I am continuing to make baby steps towards graduation. Oh the life of a speedskater; one can not live a committed life to olympic-level training and finish college in 4 years. But that all said and done, keeping up activity was still on my radar the last couple months as well as being part of the Olympic movement with appearances and some speaking engagements, which for some, Jeffrey was involved...his firsts!


Carter and I in front of his poster
Back in late March, I had the privilege to show up and surprise an amazing young man, Carter, at Wheaton South High School, who had interviewed me for a project he was doing on the history of modern Olympics. It was an independent research project for his English class and he chose to research the Olympics and if he interviewed someone, he would get extra credit points for going above and beyond. Well, to even boost that extra credit more, I showed up to help represent his project for a showcasing event for all those in the class. I got an email later that day saying he couldn't have been prouder and talked about it all day, but honestly, it impacted me just as much as it did him. To be able to share my experiences with those who dare to dream of those experiences and encourage them in their life journey to pursue their greatest dream by simply coming to a high school class, that is why I know the Lord blessed me with talent in Speedskating and brought me to a level where I can use my platform to give back. What I truly love is giving back based solely on my appreciation and indebtedness to those people in my life that have been apart of my Olympic achievements and have contributed to my successes. Anyways, for Carter, that was simply showing up on his showcasing day...and it melted my heart seeing his smile as wide as his face! Haha. :)


Another opportunity came along in mid-April to speak with Jeffrey to a small group of wonderful people at Wheaton Bible Church. This group had prayed for me while I was at the 2010 Olympics and through my grandma Peltz, they have gotten updates here and there on our lives, successes, and trainings. But we've never been face-to-face connected. So upon being asked to speak, I jumped on the chance to be able to first, thank them for their committed prayer support over the years, and secondly, to give them direct insight on what the Vancouver Olympics was like and what training in speedskating looks like as well. How their eyes lit up upon seeing the crazy training we go through to get to the Olympic-level caliber! But the most impacting and important thing that came from that time was that Jeffrey and I were able to build that personal connection with those who have supported our dreams and aspirations. 
Nick, myself and Travis


During the US Speedskating Board meeting in Cleveland, USS's event manager Breanna Bissell set up a fun evening for everyone with tickets to a Cavaliers vs Knicks game. At one of the time-outs, they announced that USS was in the building and three of us 2010 Olympians, Nick Pearson, Travis Jayner and I, went down to center court and threw out t-shirts to the fans. I was proud to have been complimented on my throwing skills...but I have to give ALL that credit to my father who taught me all I know. :)
Jackie, Jamie, Ron, Diane and Ashley

April 29th was the Walk and Roll event for the American Cancer Society that some of us Olympians were asked to join Jackie Joyner-Kersee, one of the greatest female heptathetes, to be a part of and kick off the event. It was an honor to be apart of this event, but it was most humbling being amongst those who had survived cancer and were there to breath life into those who were presently facing the battle.


Mitch, myself, Alex and Linda
And then I want to give a huge thank you and recognize Mitch Ferguson and his wife Linda, an amazing couple with huge hearts that are dedicated to helping out non-profit organizations and veterans and their causes, one being the American Lung Association. They have taken a personal interest in speedskating and in particular, those speedskaters who train in Milwaukee. They have now committed, and have greatly helped already, to expanding the interest in our sport in order to hopefully grow our small sport. Last weekend, they invited Alex Ochowicz and myself to the elegant Oxygen Ball for the American Lung Association, an event raising funds to help free the world of lung cancer and those fighting the battle of lung cancer. It was such a privilege to meet many of the people Mitch and Linda work alongside and have as much a passion as they do to help others in need.


Coming Up! 

  • on May 19th at 7:30am is the Wiesbrook Tiger Trot 5K benefitting the Ronald McDonald House Charities where I will start of the race and be apart of the festivities afterwards. Check out the link above! 
  • then June 16th is Olympic Day where Olympians in the Chicagoland area will be supporting the Olympic Movement with the Family Sports Festival. There will also be a kickoff to the Family Sports Festival with the Walk to London 2012.

God Bless,
Nancy Jr.


1 Corinthians 9:25