MTV News dispatched a team to Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics, and not only got the inside scoop from some of the top athletes at the games but also made some friends along the way. We asked new pal skeleton participant Katie Uhlaender to write about her experience in Vancouver.
By Katie Uhlaender
The closing ceremony is always a moment of reflection. You think about all you have put into getting to the Olympic games, everything that happened, and are again presented with the opportunity to do it all over again. In the midst of all that, you have a mixture of emotions from all the athletes. For some, Vancouver was the last competition of their career, while for others it was a time of celebration in just making it or winning a medal. For a few, it was a huge disappointment to leave without having won.
As a member of Team U.S.A., it was a combination of disappointment, pride and inspiration for me. I obviously wish my competition had gone better, but when you consider everything the team has accomplished (37 total medals, the most any country has won in any Olympics in history), I was proud to be a part of that. There really are no words to express the pride I have in wearing U.S.A. at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
As the team gathered in the hockey arena to get ready to walk into the closing ceremony, I walked through the crowd to say goodbye to those I could and get pictures for proof of lasting memories. I hadn't seen my good friend [gold medal-winning bobsled driver] Steve Holcomb yet, and was texting him to try and find him. He is a friend that had been there for me through my father's death, drove up on weekends while I was unable to move or walk after shattering my knee cap and couldn't have a better understanding of how much it has taken for me to get to Vancouver. At the same time, I've been there for him through the complications of his sight loss, his possible retirement, girl troubles and the stress of competing on tour.
I finally saw him, standing there with his gold medal around his neck, and I was overwhelmed with emotion. I ran to him and gave the biggest hug ever. I told him, "Can you believe it? I couldn't be more proud of you." He looked at me and said, "You have no idea." At that point the wind must have blown or something and stirred up some dust, because both our eyes were filled with tears.
To watch one of my best friends win at the Olympics and to have been able to walk in both the opening and closing ceremonies with him as a part of Team U.S.A. is something I hope to experience again in Sochi. But next time, I hope our hug is accompanied by the clinking sound of both of our medals.