She has been a part of this blog from Day 1 and ever since you have known her simply as N., but to me and the people lucky enough to know her, she was always more then just a letter N. For that reason, her name will be used in full length for the 1st time in this very blog post “N. is for Nina.”
I’ve been in the alpine skiing business almost as long as in the business of wheeling instead of walking. The thanks to that goes first and foremost to my family. I’m sure I’ll get to blogging about that extensively one day, but today I get to blog about my N., who has recently officially become my wife-to-be, and thank her for everything she’s brought to my life.
I’ve been everywhere and I have seen it all, and I’m still surprised how little recognition girlfriends and wives of professional athletes get. An elite athlete is put in a situation where one has to perform perfectly almost every day. If anything is out of whack, the athlete is as well. I personally believe girlfriends and wives should (at least partly) be credited for keeping us in line. Still, many coaches I met think girlfriends, wives and families only provide distraction to the athlete and disrupt the process of training. Not only is it not always like that, sometimes their effect on an athlete is reversed. They become our most important sport psychologists, team members & coaches. They may not be objectively distant, but they do know us better then anybody, know when to critique, when to praise and when to cut us some slack.
For me, family provides a solid base upon which I can then build my life as well as sporting career. In the last 8 months, N. has been an integral part in keeping me sane, while my sporting world was collapsing around me as well as in great moments of success. Without her I am a worse athlete and a worse human being in general.
N. brought a lot to my life. Before meeting her, skiing became my life. I was on the path of living fast and dangerous in my own skiing version of Sex, Drugs & Rock’n'roll (truth be known, there were no drugs and no sex either) that could potentially lead to something overboard crazy. N. slowed me down just enough so I think what I do, thoroughly plan everything out and then pull the trigger. With her, I take more precaution to the things I do and am much happier in life as well.
I don’t care what anybody says. For me, you can’t spell WIN without N.