Breckenridge’s 2006 Olympian gives thanks |

Breckenridge’s 2006 Olympian gives thanks

KATIE UHLAENDERspecial to the daily

A sense of great honor overwhelmed me as I took my first steps into the Olympic Arena to represent my country, and hometown of Breckenridge. Thoughts of all those who helped me get there revolved through my mind as I tried to take in the experience for what it was. To participate in the Olympic Movement, and to be part of the exemplification of world peace, was the realization of how one’s own actions are a small but important part of something much bigger than myself.Olympians are an integral piece to the Olympic Movement, but only as a whole. This, in my mind, reflects the way in which my supporters are just as important to that movement. Without my country, my hometown and my parents, the Olympic Spirit within me would not live. The journey to the Olympics is what makes that experience for the athlete. The journey is hard work and dedication through passion. But, most importantly, the people who influence the athletes and assist them to achieve their goals truly make up what they represent at the Olympics.My parents, Karen and Ted Uhlaender, will always be a part of me and who I am. Anytime I approach a sport, I think back to the fundamentals they’ve both taught me. Instilling the Uhlaender pride of athleticism, work ethic and how to go after what I wanted no matter what – that was my father. My mother supported me in every way she knew how, taking the time to be my coach in track, art or anything she could contribute to. Learning how to go after my goals confidently on my own is a huge part to my success in reaching the Olympic Games. Those fundamentals helped others see how hard I was willing to work to get there. No matter what, I will always be that little girl looking up to a major league baseball player, and I’ll always be that kid running hurdles until her mother saw perfect form. They gave me the sight to find my path to the Olympics.I’ve written this here to express my everlasting gratitude for not only the financial support, but also for that given in spirit. My parents gave me the essentials to follow my spirit; the community not only believed in me, but also instilled tremendous pride to represent Summit County, Colo., USA.The people of this community, Denver Taco Bell Association and the Breckenridge Elite Athletes Foundation made my journey to the Olympics possible. To the people of Summit County: THANK YOU.Breckenridge local Katie Uhlaender, 21, finished sixth in the women’s skeleton competition at the 2006 Winter Games in Italy. She was the only American to qualify. Watch for a story in the Summit Daily News next week on what the future holds for Uhlaender (you might be surprised).

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