I am headed home now on a plane for the final conclusion of the season.
One of the privileges we get from being an Olympian is the President Visit to the White House at the end of the season. This year, that meant jumping on a plane back across the US only three days after finishing our season. With such a tight turn around, I almost passed up the opportunity. Now, as I head home from one of the most memorable two days, I am incredibly thankful I made the right decision!
The two days started out with a visit around DC checking out the Supreme Court, the many buildings and halls, and then an opportunity to sit and speak with Senator Patty Murray from Washington, who I learned grew up right outside Bothell, where my dad grew up! Following that, Erik and I got to meet up with Lisa Murkowski, whom we met last fall for our Olympic send-off in November. It was nice to connect with her again, and listen in on one of her court hearings.
|Erik and Torin K.|
Following our day of exploring and meet and greets, we got all dressed up for a fancy evening in the Warner Theater that began with a "red carpet entrance", and then a filming of an awards show "Best of US" that NBC will be showing later this week.
|The Red Carpet|
|Best of US Awards Show|
|All dressed up!|
The second day was just as fun packed as the first, and included some nerves! We began the morning with a march across the front lawn of the White House for "Let's Move" a program against fight against obesity that Michelle Obama is pushing to encouraging kids to get out, be active, and healthy.
|Headed to the White House :)|
|The Diva Mikaela with her Vegetable Torch!|
Following that we had a tour inside the White House that ended with the "big president visit". As I was waiting in line, watching Obama shake each individual athletes hand, I started getting crazy nervous. More nervous then my first race at the Olympics!! This was arguably the most powerful man in the world I was about to have a conversation with! It's funny, I was so nervous, I honestly don't even remember what I said to him! What struck me was how personable he was, asking each athlete a little something about themselves! Then, I moved on to Michelle ready to shake her hand, only to be swooped in for a big hug! A hug from the first lady! Neat!
|Waiting in line with anticipation!!|
|A talk with the Obama's|
After meeting each individual athlete, the Obama's went on to give the Olympic group a little talk. They thanked us for inspiring a young generation with our healthy lives and determination. They laughed at us for being crazy "flying down mountains on lunch trays, and flinging ourselves into the air doing god knows how many flips and turns, etc.". They finished by encouraging us to keep believing, keep picking ourselves up and trying when we have setbacks, and keep representing our country well in an event that shows the world we can be one! It was an inspiring talk, and something that I will certainly remember forever!
|Taking flowers from the White House for souvenirs.|
|Checking out some other athletes gold medals.|
|The Pentagon, just outside my hotel window.|
|Exploring the super nice DC Subway.|