2016 was an amazing year, filled with some pretty incredible things. I went to my first Paralympic Games in Rio, which in and of itself was beyond describable: The people of Rio made for some extraordinary fans/spectators, many of which went out of their way to make us all feel welcomed in their country. The scenery was spectacular, and sometimes downright breathtaking. And I got to share the experience with my best friend – my husband. If that wasn’t enough, though, I came home with two bronze medals. Two!
To be honest, I went to Rio expecting to medal in the time trial. I never thought, though, I would podium for a track event on the world level. Yet I did. By four thousandths of a second.
I came home, with fire to change those medal colors in Tokyo 2020, to a surprise party thrown so people could celebrate me and my accomplishments at the games. But really, it was more a celebration of everyone who helped make it possible for me to train and be at my best during those competitions. Thank you to all of you; we wish we could have invited more people but it would have been a fire hazard. 😉
I also got to throw out the first pitch at the Angels game, before heading off to meet the president. It all kept me in a whirlwind through the welcome-home dinners and accolades.
2016 also brought Andrew and I a little doggie. Andrew found him wandering the streets while I was away for my first Rio prep camp. After no one claimed him (Andrew had him scanned for a microchip, called the pound, looked for lost dog signs and asked houses in our neighborhood; I checked lost dog websites), we did. Truth be told, he really claimed us. We named him Rio.
I also celebrated my one-year anniversary with literally the most amazing and loving man I have ever known.
I am very fortunate to have Andrew in my life; he has helped me to shine. And I look forward to the many more anniversaries to come.
So thank you, 2016, for being an amazing year. Even though it was filled with its downs throughout the ups, I’ve grown exponentially on and off the bike. I’ve traveled new places, made new friends, have grown into a woman I am beyond proud of and have memories I will cherish forever. It’s been a year for the books.
But hello 2017. Let’s make you a year for the books too!
Happy New Year, everyone! May it be the happiest one yet. 🎊🍾😊