This article was originally published on Larisa Yurkiw's website.
I was on a bike ride today when the news was released that I am named to the Canadian Alpine Ski Team 2015/2016.
10 years ago, I received that news for the first time.. what a difference a decade makes.
I’ve received messages today congratulating me on being nominated as a national team member so I feel the need to explain my current career status.
Team Larisa was founded in response to the lack of Women’s Speed team in 2013/2014. It was one of the most chaotic and completely amazing years of my life. With the help of so many, I was able to get my feet under me just in time for my first Olympic experience and career-best results. Team Larisa benefited from charitable donations and corporate partnerships alike. I will be forever grateful that so many people understood my passion and obstacle-ridden venture.
Fortunately, it got even more exciting in its second year. This past season was equally as chaotic but having had just one more year under our belts, my support crew and I went on to an even more successful season. The support and, in turn, the structure grew in all the right ways. My coach, Kurt, and I are extremely efficient on the road and in creating a program to meet my needs.
So with a third season on the horizon, I’ve landed myself in the exact environment I feel is best for me. It is guaranteed to be more work than if I were to take Alpine Canada up on their offer, but I simply can’t walk away from this opportunity for Team Larisa to live on. I have to perform for a mission that I started and my sponsors expect me to pursue. I’m surrounded by deeply passionate and committed people and that resonates highly with my personal work ethic. It is no longer a charitable organization but a brand that corporations are partnering with to help promote perseverance and courage within their own companies. It’s an exciting time for me to be talking about yet another Olympic train when speaking to potential partners.
With all that said, I’m ecstatic to see the Canadian Alpine Ski Team introducing a speed coach to the girls again and taking care of some excellent talent coming quickly up the ladder. I have a giant spot in my heart for the fire I see in these girls’ eyes and it’s only fair that they have a place to exercise their potential.
And isn’t that what it’s all about.. going to bed at night knowing you’ve done what you do best. You’ve learned, you’ve fallen and risen, you’ve ripened with age and sought out the means to continue catapulting yourself into the next page of life’s book.
‘Thank you’ is always in order.. to the girls who wrote to me on facebook explaining their goals and asking how to get there, to the women who managed a happy heart over the holidays despite a cancer diagnosis and to the men who cry when telling me their own stories of hurt and heart. It’s been a beautiful ride and I’m so grateful for the support that allows me to continue this journey… I have loved being an ambassador for trying really hard and looking defeat right in the face.
Here’s to what Team Larisa has come to represent…