Silver in Sochi

We knew our friends and family would be watching from home. We did it!

View our thoughts on our Olympic medal here, at the USA house

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This was easily one of the best nights of my life. We took home the silver medal in the men’s relay on the last day of competition. I guess you could say, “better late than never!” It was the only medal for team usa in speed skating. I’m extremely glad I got the opportunity to win my first Olympic medal.

We raced on Saturday night at 10:30pm Sochi time. The arena was sold out with thousands of Russian fans who made their presence known. But I always knew where to look in the stands for my team usa cheering section. Especially where my mom and girlfriend were sitting, anxiously waiting for the race. All season long we had waited for this moment, and the other four guys on my team had fire in our hearts. We had only one thing to do, go out there and win. 

Going into the race there was no nerves, no worries at all. When we had a pep-talk that day, the only thing we talked about was just skate confident. We were the world cup Champions going into the race, so it was ours for the taking. But to prepare for the race we made sure to have a team moment and watch Warrior. The stage was set and our team was ready. 

At the start of the race I was on the outside position. We knew that I needed to get to the front of the race, so I just imagined what we had gone over in practice the day before. The gun went off and as I made my way around the first corner there was a crash! Two teams fell directly in front of me and I hustled up the inside into second place.

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The relay had literally exploded in the first lap and the cheering was intense. We had second place in our grasp, so I moved up right behind the Russian team to make the first relay push with Jr. We made sure to stay behind them for most of the race, making them use all of their energy to lead the race. But make no mistake, every move in that race was hard fought and difficult. It was probably the roughest ice I raced on all year, since we were the last race of the competition and there was no time for ice repair.

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Here is a good shot of Jr as we moved to take the lead of the race. After letting Russia lead most of the race, we had to pick up the pace to win. It came down to the last exchange, and we were edged out by Victor Ahn. He had a crazy Olympic performance claiming 3 gold medals. If I could be edged out by one person I would go with Ahn. Needless to say, winning the silver medal brought tears of joy to our eyes. We did everything we could to win that race and that is all that matters now.

We celebrated on the ice, during the flower ceremony, and back at the USA house. Actually the next the days were a celebration for us! I couldn’t sleep and it was basically a whirlwind of media, medal ceremony and podium hijinks, and the buildup to closing cerimonies. It was the end of my Sochi experience, but definitely something I will never forget.

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Four Days To Go

When I left the USA I had no idea what waited for me in Sochi. The park has lived upto its reputation and there’s been almost no problems so far. In the couple weeks I’ve been here the place has changed. Thousands of people have flooded into the park to watch the events. The venues are bright and always pretty full, but have not been sold out.

My take on all the events so far: incredible. I haven’t been to another Olympic Games but this Olympics is massive. The hockey games are exciting, speed skating is packed (but not sold out) every night, curling is a pleasure to watch, figure skating is fun,  all the events I’ve watched are great. I got a US hockey Jersey and went to a game with my dad. That was for sure a proud moment, and hopefully not the last game I goto.

Luckily I got the chance to go up to the mountain cluster and watch the men’s bobsled. The USA team for two-man bobsled won the bronze medal and we witnessed all of it! The trip up the mountain took about a hour on the train. Then one gondola ride later we were there. The views from the mountains did not disappoint. We could see the Alpine skiing areas and plenty of places to shop. The buildings were not completely finished, but the mountain village is beautiful.

The Russian fans there are what really surprised me. They are actually nice to us (Americans) and are very respectful. When there is a Russian in the event, that’s when you hear them cheering. It’s not necessarily because they want them to win. Mostly it’s a moment for their country and they want you to hear all about it. The Russians won the gold medal that night, but the US team was close behind.

So far my events have been hard fought and aggressive. It’s too bad that I didn’t make it to the final round individually and that’s now in the past. I have my sights set on the relay event in two days. It’s the US team’s best chance to medal at the games. The Olympics are almost over so I’m pouring everything into this full-on battle. Let’s hope there is something shimmering (and metallic) waiting for me as well.

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Happy Valentines Day!

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Sochi, we’re here!

The games are upon us.  When I arrived in Sochi I didn’t know what to expect. Now that I’ve seen everything, it is amazing and  beyond what I thought was possible.  Opening cerimonies are tomorrow and we are gearing up to walk as TEAM USA! Take a look at the Olympic village and keep in mind that I took these pictures a few days ago. 

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These are the apartments we are living in for the next two weeks.

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Short track and figure skating venue

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Opening cerimonies

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I have to say that these Olympics are going to be great. The venues are awesome, the food and facilties are up to my standards.  Actually the best part ofmy trip d so far has been using our team bikes. BMW donated bikes for the alleys use in the Olympic village. Each country had their own b bikes and it’s are the best I’ve seen.

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View from my apartment

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These pictures are just a hint of what Sochi is like. Please stay tuned for more posts coming soon.

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For more info on events and athletes please visit NBC Olympics

Pre-season visits to LA and Co. Springs

Last month I had the privilege to be part of the NBC Olympic promo shoot in Los Angeles, California. The whole trip lasted about 5 days which gave me plenty of time to check out Beverly Hills and Hollywood. My mom also lived in the area so we had the chance to spend time together in Santa Monica.

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While I was in LA there was also filming of short track skating. We managed to spend over four hours on the ice which turned out to be a lot of fun. We did some filming using the sled camera that followed us down the straight-away. That camera shoots over 1,000 frames per second to get every little detail of skating. The film crew focused on the the start and ice chips flying through the air! We also used helmet mounted Go-Pro cameras to capture passing and pack skating on short track. I’m really excited to see how these clips will come out when they air on NBC this fall.

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The studio was packed with other winter Olympic athletes. I had the chance to meet bobsledders, lugers and skiers who were also invited to the event. The “event” was very fast paced and energized. What was cool about it was meeting the producers and newscasters from NBC who will be putting the footage together. They were extremely helpful in getting me prepped for the interviews and made everything go smoothly. I had no problems with being filmed alongside JR, Eddy, Jeff and the other athletes.

After I returned from LA. it was time to get back to training. The racing season is still months away, but we are getting a head start on the Olympic year. The atmosphere is quite different since the competition will be really fierce to capture a spot on the world team, and ultimately the Olympic team.

The next stop in my summer training was the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. We departed SLC with great expectations for the training camp. The flight was a little rough, but we made it to the ground safely. Flying in a prop plane isn’t ever an enjoyable experience. Every small wind sheer would shake the plane, which made for an interesting flight with lots of turbulence. We also saw this sign when we headed down to baggage claim.

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It was great to be around other athletes in the training center. Don’t get me wrong, spending time with Travis Jayner, Johnathan Garcia, and the other speed skating athletes is very entertaining. We had a great time training together and getting ready for the tough year ahead. Not to mention the ping pong, and foosball games we had in the athlete lounge.. The athletes who live in the OTC all share that same energy for their sport and the dedication it takes to win. The staff and trainers are a big part of the push to get us ready for competing. I am very grateful to have them on my team as I prepare for the 2014 season.

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There was an event going on at the OTC called The Warrior Games. More than 200 wounded service members competed in seven sports (archery, cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field and wheelchair basketball). Athletes were from the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Sec Ops as well as the British armed forces. We were honored to be greeted by Prince Harry as he was the keynote speaker for the event. The event did mean a lot to me since I have family members in the marines. Being in the presence of the soldiers was really inspiring.

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Spending time with the long track team and staff—> tons of fun. The coaches are fun when we re on the ice. But spending time with the off the ice, we had a lot of laughs and good times together. We had team activities planned like dry land sessions, weight training, hiking and running the incline. It brought back memories from my inline racing days when I stayed at the OTC for residency. But this time, being with the short track team was excellent. We also had fencing bouts, basketball and dodgeball games to boost team building.

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The off-season

I don’t have many chances to take time off. So I’m going to take this time to relax, enjoy life and reflect. During the last three weeks I have been my own coach. It has been said that athletes need to rest as hard as they train. There needs to be a good balance between training and time off. Plus having time off will create a new motivation to get back into training.

Many of you know that I’m training to be part of the Olympic team for the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia. The last season was extremely tough and life changing. I made huge changes in my training which allowed huge gains in my racing. That being said, the last twelve months really took its toll on the whole team. The grueling summer training, intense race preparation… We deserve some time to unwind. So I took some time off to road trip and visit family/friends.

Being on the world team is a great experience. When the racing season was in full swing, I had my whole calendar filled and training mapped out for me. However, there is a flip side to that. Now I am slowly getting back into training and I have my own schedule. It’s almost like I’m relearning how to enjoy working out.

Being an athlete isn’t all about gaining strength and performing well. It’s also about knowing when to take it easy, moderating your training and having fun. Taking time to slow down and work on technique is important. Even if your teammates are racing you, some days there needs to be relaxed workouts. This will keep you from flat lining and getting burnt out.

The best way to keep yourself motivated is to constantly change it up. What I mean by that is always change the routine to keep your body guessing. Instead of doing to same workout everyday, change the intensity or add intervals. These are some of the things you can do on your own to get faster while still enjoying yourself.

The attitude you have in the beginning of your training plays a huge role in the outcome of the season. Most people like to make the start of the season fun. Actually, when you are just enjoying the work and going with the flow it can turn out to be your biggest gains. It’s true for all sports, when it’s fun you perform better!

When I do get back into training, it’s going to be a fun atmosphere. The dry land and running workouts will have plenty of rest and lots of variation. The bike rides will be easy-going. When we get into the longer bike rides they will be at a talking pace, where we can hold a conversation during a hill-climb. After all, it’s not only your legs pushing you up the hill… It’s your desire to be out and enjoying the ride too! How can we train and enjoy getting faster/stronger if we don’t have a good time?

This advice isn’t just for professional athletes, it’s for everyone. Anyone who is thinking about getting into racing: professional, amateur, international and domestic, and weekend warriors. I am speaking to cyclists, runners, skaters, you name it. It’s even advice for that guy who wants to try to ride to work as much as possible. It’s not about reaching your peak performance every ride. Just go out for a ride with some friends and enjoy the sheer pleasure and unique challenges sport has to offer.

For now I am enjoying some time away from skating. I’ve been able to spend some quality time with my girlfriend and visit friends who I haven’t seen for a while. During my road trip I had the opportunity to see some great people. Not to mention I had three weeks away from everything that is speed skating, so that was Really nice.

While I was gone I visited my family back in NJ & PA. as well as friends in Michigan and Wisconsin. I want to make a shout out to some of the medical professionals I also saw during my trip. The head athletic trainer of the USOEC at NMU Colby Lash, also Dr. Greg Nelson DC CCSP is Marquette Mi. Also Dr. Eric St. Pierre with ESP Sports Medicine is Boulder Co. They have helped me tremendously ever since I started skating with the national team.

And lastly I’d like to thank Dr. Gregory Pamel with Pamel Vision in NYC. Thanks for the check up, my eyes are great by the way. We had a good time in the city. What I enjoyed most was seeing the 9/11 memorial. I last saw the aftermath in 2002 or 2003 (can’t remember which) so I wanted to see what the memorial looked like.

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The Hungary Games

Hi and welcome back to my blog. For anyone who is seeing my blog for the first time, I’m Chris Creveling. Recently I competed in the Short Track World Championships in Drebecen, Hungary. Team USA was represented by two men and two women in the individual events. We also qualified for the mens relay event. Being my first world championships, I didn’t know what to expect. But the competition exceeded all of my expectations with the drama of having a world title at stake.

Our week and a half stay in Drebecen was excellent. We had everything we could have needed and there were no problems. First I would like to thank the coaches and training staff of team USA for a great season and for all their hard work. I had the opportunity to meet medical staff who travel with the team to these events. They have so much to offer for the team and we appreciate everything.
Our team stayed in The Hotel Aquaticum near Drebecen University. Our hotel had all the amenities of a resort. The best thing about it was the thermal baths and steam/sauna rooms. We had access to the wellness spa of Aquaticum medical and bathing centre. The medical treatments they have to offer are hydrotherapy, group therapeutic exercise, electro therapy, massage, mud pack, dentistry, just about everything you can think of. The baths are under a dome with four thermal pools and two changing pools. This is in use daily by Drebecen citizens and hotel guests. Of course the skaters were welcome to use the pools everyday.
As soon as we arrived it was obvious that we would be part of a health and wellness community. It’s very different from how people view healing in the United States. People seek health benefits of medicinal waters and more simple means of healing. You won’t find places like it anywhere in the US.
The Fonix arena was within walking distance of our hotel. This was convenient for anyone who wanted to jog/walk to the arena rather than waiting for the shuttle to arrive. Our first trip to the rink was pretty eventful. On the walk over we encountered the petting zoo that was along the way. There was a giraffe, which we didn’t expect to see wandering through the park. Then, walking straight towards us was a mini horse! We had to move off the sidewalk to let it walk by and everyone stopped and starred. Then we joked about riding a mini horse to the rink everyday. After we walked to the wrong building and were directed to the arena, we found out it was closed. The pad system was not installed completely and we were forced to wait another day to get on the ice.
Once we arrived the next day we had a great ice session. My skates were dialed in and I felt comfortable on the ice. The entire team felt pretty fast that day. It is an amazing feeling when everything falls together; ice conditions, feeling strong, having tons of energy. But it can be short lived.
The next practice day was the complete opposite. The ice had changed overnight and many teams had practices after us. Also the temperature changed in the arena which made the ice conditions change. This just goes to show that short track is a very unpredictable sport. Things can change drastically, and in the blink of an eye. One day you can feel like you’re in top of the world, the next could be the complete opposite.
We had four races in the world championships. How the system works is each A final placement earns points. The points add up from each distance to determine the world champion. So for instance, if I made it to the semi finals but didn’t qualify for the A final, I was done racing that distance. I’m glad we used this system because it meant less races and more recovery time. Each night after races I would go back to the hotel for cold bathing and massage treatment. That was crucial for recovering and skating well the following day.
In each of my races I tried to stay towards the front of the pack. The longer races tended to be slower in the beginning, so I could wait a few laps to start moving up. I could move up through the pack with ease to place myself in the top two. However, there was a lot more riding on these races which made it harder to stay in second or third place. This worlds allowed me to see how I fared among the best skaters in the world. I ended up placing 16th overall in the world. Meng Wang won the world title for the ladies, and Sin Da Woon was ecstatic to win for the men. I’m excited to have good results going into the Olympic year. Hopefully next year I will be among the top 8, or even higher!
After the races we had some time to check out downtown. Luckily my dad was there to watch me skate, so we had some time to catch up. We enjoyed authentic Hungarian food and taking in the sights. You would be surprised with what they served and how much of it was fried. For me the best food was the goulash and fish with rice. Enjoy the pictures of the interesting food and culture of Hungary.
The arena went ballistic when the Hungarian team took the ice

The arena went ballistic when the Hungarian team took the ice

I did take part in the relaxing oxygen therapy.

I did take part in the relaxing oxygen therapy.

oxygen bar aquamasage airport lounge with piano start of the 1000m Lilly and I Eddy and JR preparing for their feet to be cleaned! I AM AMSTERDAM random scupture in amsterdam passport check the foodcourt budapest airport

we were in the airport by 4:30am. needless to say we didnt get any sleep

we were in the airport by 4:30am. needless to say we didn’t get any sleep

the banquet and awards ceremony opening ceremonies The Dutch team warming up outdoor thermal baths thermal baths Aquaticum IMG_1962 downtown Drebecen The tram to downtown

we were the first ones in the arena that day. half way through the warmup the lights came on

we were the first ones in the arena that day. half way through the warmup the lights came on

 

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End of World Cup

We are done with the World Cup season. But we won’t forget all that happened in the last 6 months. We accomplished a lot not only individually but as a team. We made a huge effort to bring our team together. I skated my first World Cup in Calgary and broke the national record in the 1000m. JR won the 500m and broke the world record. We had our ups and downs in the relay, but the team (AKA The Honey badgers) clinched the world champs spot. We are one of 8 teams who will compete in the world championships.

We couldn’t have done it without our teammates and fans/supporters. I’m glad that we get the chance to show our country what we are made of on the world’s stage. Hopefully there will be a medal in our future! check out the live feed from the world championships in Drebecen, Hungary. Here is a preview of what it will look like.

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The Dresden World Cup was my favorite of the season. It is a great city to host the World Cup and the people really enjoy speedskating. I actually speak German and visited Germany in the past. I’ve always enjoyed German culture which made this trip a little more interesting for me.
While we were in Dresden we toured around the older part of the city with nearly a thousand years of history.

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Just to give you a glimpse into their speed skating culture, check out the Dresden ice arena.

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Notice the long track ice sheet that’s full of skaters. I saw people walking from miles away with their skates in hand, just to spend some time at the ice rink. Another great thing about Dresden was the fans. Droves of people came out to see the finals and the stadium was filled with loud spectators.

For my 5th World Cup of the season it was the best World Cup I’ve had. I performed well in the 1500m A final, almost making the podium. There was a chance to get the bronze but at the finish I lost my footing and fell down. But this experience I’ve gained has paid off by learning that I can be in medal contention.
I’ll be racing in Hungary with JR for the world championships. Please stay posted on my blog and with ISU Results for live race results. I’m ecstatic to be in the running for the world title! It’s been a long road but the biggest race of the season is just weeks away.

First day in Dresden

Goodbye Sochi, and hallo Dresden. I’m glad to have made it to Germany in one piece. We were delayed in our flight out of Sochi this morning (7:00am) and almost missed our connecting flight. It was a very stressful travel day but three connecting flights later, we have arrived.
In these past few world cups I have found some answers. We are constantly looking for the best mixture of training and being prepared for anything (equipment problems, health, traveling etc). With the help of all the staff and teammates, it has been a great learning experience.
I’m still working on getting the kinks out with my racing. Finally there is a connection with racing and working with the World Cup staff. And believe me, there’s no substitute for the World Cup experience. We have a limited window of opportunity as athletes to win medals. Now that I’m starting to see the bigger picture, it makes my goals a lot more clear. The staff are here to help us get there (trainers, nutritionist, coaches). So it’s like a puzzle and all the pieces have to fall into place.
The team traveled all day today (I mean ALL day) to get to Dresden, Germany. It was a 2:00am wake up call to goto the airport. Here is the play by play.

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We had a strong team meeting when we got here, and it looks like everyone is ready to do big things. Ill let you know that we didn’t have a great weekend. Now we have a chance to show that we are a strong team and come back from this. I personally feel very motivated and inspired for this final World Cup. We all want to take it to the next level and I’ll do everything in my power to make that happen.
So we are headed to a late practice tonight just to get our legs moving again. It is just what is needed for us to be ready for this coming weekend. Stay tuned in for the next thrilling update!

World Cup 5, Sochi

We have the second day of racing in the books. The Sochi World Cup has been a crazy experience. But this isn’t your normal World Cup because it’s the trial run for the 2014 Olympic Games. I am part of a 6 man team that will skate as the US “Olympic representatives”.
I have already raced the 1500m and I had a huge race, qualifying for the A final. Only after the race was over and I sat down the refs went to instant replay. I was called (penalized) for impeding, so I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to race again. I’ll be racing out of the reps in the 1000m.
As far as the competition goes, i think the Russian federation has done a great job. They are preparing for the Olympics next year and doing everything in their power to make us comfortable. They greet us at every door with hello or “privet”. The security is very tight and we feel extremely safe everywhere we go.
In the time that I’ve been in Russia it has been a pretty cold and rainy. So for those of you that don’t know, Russia is a pretty dreary place. I mean I wasn’t hoping for a tropical paradise when arriving in Sochi. Never the less, it is a tourist destination for beach goers. It seems a little weird that there is a warm climate and just a few miles away, snow on the mountain. That is how this winter Olympic Games are going to be done. The Olympic stadium will be right on the beach, and the skiing events will be just a few miles away.

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In the midst of all this, there will be an F1 race track. That’s right, the following year there will be an F1 race through the Olympic park! But for now, it is still under construction.
The construction effort for this project is mind bottling. There will be a high-speed train to travel between the mountain and short track venues. I believe it can go as fast as 90mph. It is scheduled to be finished by September. It’s hard to put into words what it actually looks like, so here are some pictures to show how much progress they are making.

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Here is a look at the Iceberg short track/figure skating venue.

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My guess is that the construction won’t be finished in time. If there are no hold ups or problems along way, they will finish within a year. When we travel back and forth from the rink there is terrible traffic. Thanks to constant construction our travel takes anywhere from 20min to over an hour… Most of the time highway lanes are shut down during construction, which causes accidents.
Apart from the inconvenient construction that’s going on, the beach is a sight for sore eyes. Here’s a look at the Black Sea.

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Now this is supposedly what it will look like later on.

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In the ware months this will be a full-fledged tourist destination. But for now it’s almost reminiscent of the winter months of the Jersey shore.

That is all I have for this post, but expect more in a couple of days when we finish here and move on to world cup 6 in Dresden, Germany.

World team 2013

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Check out the pics from NYC! I’m so glad I got to visit this great city with my sister. It was a blast walking around and being tourists. I have been in the city a few times before, but not for about 5 years.

The world team trials were last month. Stressful as usual, with plenty of close calls and controversy. But that is what we have been training for all year. Preparing for that moment when all the fastest skaters are in the line together. I’m glad I can claim a spot on that line next to fellow world team members.
Half the year we train and prepare ourselves for trials. The other half we spend worrying about the race itself and making the team. Once at trials, all bets are off. At this point everything you do matters. There can’t be any mistakes since your spot on the world team depends on making clean passes and staying calm.
My world team trials were mostly great. The races were extremely close as I chased the other skaters for 6 spots on the world team. It was possibly my best performance ever and I placed second overall. I medaled in every distance we skated, which has been a goal of mine.

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Immediately following the racing I prepared for my trip to visit my family. I spent my time at home for the holidays; which I rarely get the chance to do with my hectic schedule. I went home (new jersey) for Christmas, my birthday and New Years. There’s nothing like spending quality time with your family.

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My next trip was to visit New York City. I was scheduled to have LASIK surgery with Dr. Pamel on the 4th. Luckily my sister was able to make the trip with me to help me adjust to my “new eyes.” We had a great time running around the city. We went everywhere: Central Park, Rockefeller center, Times Square. We spent four days roaming around and taking in the sights. Chelsea’s significant other, Dan also joined us. I was really glad we had the chance to take a trip together.
After the surgery it was like a whole different experience. I could hardly open my eyes at first, but I could still see better than 20/20. So that’s when the quote, “it’s like I was reborn” originated from. A lot if the other skaters have already gone through the procedure, so they agree that it is life-changing.
Here are a few pictures of our trip. Also some candid pics of me after the surgery.

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