One day, I found myselfat the top of a mountain, one descent to go, one last chanceto fulfill a lifelong dream.
I wasn't even old enoughto walk into a PG-13 movie alone when my dream took roots.
Yet there I stood, my three teammates by my side, facing the opportunity to make history.
My mind wandered, just for half a second, but that half-second was filledwith a lifetime of memories, and two decisions that brought mehere to the top of the mountain.
I made the first decisionafter a very challenging period in my career as an athlete — five years of recurring injuriesas a track athlete.
Five years — that's a long timeto dedicate to anything.
But as much as I loved track, the injuries were slowly killingmy drive and my dreams.
My injuries had me feeling like a failure at a sport I was once great at.
The last of the series of injuriesrequired major elbow surgery.
As I sat on my couch, days out of surgery, I thought of an old coachand mentor's words, comparing me to a greatbobsledder he once knew.
“Bobsled? No way!” But after year upon yearof not reaching the goals I set for myself in track, it was time for a change.
So I reached outto the US Olympic Committee, and they told me to start training.
I was going to be a bobsledder! I didn't know anything about it, but the first decision had been made.
There I was, in what felt likea blink of an eye later, about to push my four-mansled with my team to the chance of Olympic gold, Olympic glory.
“Back set! Front set! Ready and –” the driver yelled, and off we went.
We dug as deep as we could, and as the cadence of our steps increasedand the sled accelerated, we left everything we had on the track, before leaving the iceand boarding our Night Train sled.
And a calm came over me.
And once in the sled, as it was picking up speed, for just another millisecond, my mind went backto that day on the couch.
“How can I train for the bobsledteam without getting hurt over and over again like before?” I looked in the mirrorand realized I still wanted to compete.
I still wanted to succeed.
But I had to face the realitythat my getting hurt wasn't to be blamed elsewhere.
I realized that if I had a problemit was up to me to change it, and that what I hadbeen doing all this time may not have been best for me.
I had to confront my realityand make a change, and that was the second decision.
The decision in my mind not to get hurtanymore had many layers, but it mostly had to dowith taking responsibility for all the variables in my life.
If I thought somethingI would do or something I felt would lead me to injury, then it most certainly would.
I would have to havea fundamental shift in mindset.
I learned to let go of the fears I hadtrained myself to have over the years and decided to trust myself and my body to push through situations I hadthought insurmountable before.
What followed those five years of injuries were nine years of not missingone race I entered for the USA National and Olympic teams.
Because I made a decision, then another one, and held true to those two decisions, I found myself back with my teamapproaching 90 miles per hour.
And as we came around the last corners, I could hear the crowd cheering and the cowbells blaring, and a hard”You!” coming from the masses as we passed by at 95 miles an hour.
But someone wasn't yelling “You!”at us, they were yelling “USA!” We were moving so fast, we only heard the first piece of it.
We then came around the last bend, and when we all looked up, the clock simply read “1.
” We had done it; we wereOlympic gold medalists.
We were the best in the world.
My hands went up immediately, as the moment I had been waiting formy entire life had finally come true.
And as our sled slowly came to a stop and I looked into the crowdto see my mom, dad, sister and familyand friends crying for me, I knew my decisions had been worththe sacrifice, worth the fear.
Two decisions and those five minutessitting on that couch began to change my life, and sticking to them fulfilled my dreams.
It was those decisionsand standing by them that ultimately gave me the confidenceto perform at the Olympic games.
What two decisionscan you make and stick to that will change your life forever? I challenge you to lookat what you're doing in your life and think of what you dream to do.