Archive for August, 2011

2014 Olympics, and some thoughts.

Posted in Ski Jumping on August 11, 2011 by Vanessa Pierce

It’s been a while since I have updated here. It’s been a very busy summer until this point, and I finally feel I have some free time where I can collect my thoughts and write a little something. Since last time I wrote I was going to San Francisco to donate bone marrow, and since then have been training a ton, going to school, and working. Oh oh, I almost forgot, Women’s Ski Jumping was added to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi Russia!!!!
Donating bone marrow was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had. I had a lot of time to think about what I was doing. It seemed like a no brainer to me through the whole process, and it still does. I have to admit the drugs to prepare me for the donation were brutal. Your bones have to work so hard to produce more stem cells so they could be collected. I could feel my hips producing these cells. I know it sounds crazy, but I could really feel it! I mean it did feel like I got hit by a truck for a few days, but I knew it was for a good reason. It made me think if I can do this for a few days to save a life it will be well worth it. I knew it would only be a few days of pain, but when I put in into perspective it didn’t even compare. Can you imagine the physical and mental pain a cancer patient has to go through while being diagnosed, treated, and prepped for a bone marrow transplant? They are the ones taking the real chance. These patients literally kill their immune systems through chemo and radiation prior to the transplant. The whole time knowing that their donor may decide not to donate at any time. Without the donation most of these patients will die. Just thinking about that brings tears to me eyes. They are trusting a random person that they have never met to donate the only thing that can save their life. I can’t imagine what my recipient was thinking going into all this.
The process of donating was very simple. I just sat hooked up to a machine while it sorted through my blood to take the parts it needed. It was painless! As soon as it was done I was on my way back to 100%. I was very tired for a few days, but quickly was back in the gym. Honestly I have never felt better. All my old chronic pains were gone, and I was able to train more than I had been able to in the last 5 years. I don’t know why, but I will take it. It has been almost 6 months since I donated and I am anxiously awaiting the 6 month update on my recipient. I am counting down the days. Donating was one of the most unique experiences in my life, and I would do it again without hesitation.
In April Women’s Ski Jumping heard the best news for our sport! Our sport was added to the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi Russia. We have been fighting for this for as long as I can remember. It has taken a long time to come up with real thoughts on this. I have only known our sport not to be part of the Olympic program, and one day it changed. It was years of thinking that way, and it takes more than one day to change that thinking. It still doesn’t seem real in my mind. Honestly, when I first heard, I had no words, and very few emotions! I think people expected me to be ecstatic, but I wasn’t. I felt relief and a lot of relief. I felt we had really made a step forward in our sport, and I could look at it all differently. My role changed a lot, and for the better. I no longer have to be that athlete fighting for a political issue, and can focus on just being an athlete. This has taken some time getting use to. My only focus now is to be the best ski jumper I can be, and it has never been so clear cut for me. It is still a huge relief for me! I can just wake up and focus on training. It’s great!! I have never been so motivated to ski jump before. I found my passion for the sport again without it being blurred by a political scar. I am so excited for the future of our sport, and I can’t wait to be a part of it.
As for the rest of the summer, I will be busy training for the upcoming World Cup season, and working. I hope I can compete this fall in Trondheim, and a few domestic competitions. I want to give props to all the women who have stayed in the sport, and my teammates for sticking together through all of the hard times. I am honored to have you all in my life, and I look forward to the future of our sport with you all.