Thursday, July 16, 2009

World Youth Championships in Italy by Erik Olson

Italy was possibly the most amazing experience of my life. Having never been to Europe before, I was very excited to just be there, let alone race international runners. When I first heard my name called stating that I had been chosen to represent the USA I almost collapsed in excitement. After such a dismal showing at the trials I was questioning whether I was truly qualified to go to Italy. Fortunately, the coaches that made the decision looked at my previous accomplishments and decided to bring me along, thus opening up an entire new set of opportunities for me.

Once we arrived in Munich, we drove for another 2 hours to get to the Sudtriol region of Italy in the Alps where the race was held. During many of the days, Zach and I had to improvise our training schedule due to complications in travel. These improvisations did not affect us and we still got in some solid workouts prior to the race.

Then the racing began. Going into semi's, I was not to confident that I would make it to the finals. However, as the race unfolded I found myself in third place, which meant I automatically qualified for finals. After the semi final races both Zach and I were pumped since we both made the finals. We talked about strategy and looked forward to pushing each other to the limit.

At the final race Zach ran amazing and his outstanding run contributed to me running a personal best. We were both extremely happy in finishing in the top ten in the world and glad that we finished our seasons off with a bang. I am so proud to have represented my country. This trip formed a brotherhood among all the athletes that I am proud to be apart of. I am also thankful for everyone's support and encouragement. I ran this race not only representing my country but representing everyone that had supported me throughout the years.

-Erik Olson

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