By Lanny Barnes, Prois Pro-Staffers and Twin Biathletes www.twinbiathletes.com
The path to becoming an Olympian has no map, or trail marker, or mile marker, or Olympian for dummies book. This path however sits at the corner of life, heartache, and dreams. Every step is carved out by a million missteps, stumbles, falls and leaps. When we set out, we discover how many of those around us are willing to lend us a hand to help us find the right path. Those are the people beside us and behind us lifting us up and helping us find the right road, the right path, and giving us the wings to soar. Every setback isn’t a step back, it’s a comeback and a chance to soar again. These are a few things I’ve learned along the road to becoming an Olympian and while the 2014 Olympic Winter Games have ended, it is only the beginning of a new dream and new path. I didn’t bring home a medal in Sochi, but I brought home so much more in experiences, perspective and my gratitude towards those who have helped both of us in this incredible journey.
The life lessons and challenges we’ve faced in biathlon over the past 15 years have not only helped us to become a better competitor, but it’s allowed us to find out exactly who we are. Thanks to all of you we know now that we won’t give up no mater what life throws at us and that we are also willing to make sacrifices for the ones we love. The last race of my career and my last Olympic race I decided that I was either going out there to win it or die trying. The sacrifice all of you have made for me deserved nothing less than my full effort. I unfortunately didn’t win, but I did die trying and had nothing left at the finish. I have always set very high goals for myself but nothing that I didn’t think wasn’t possible. All of you have pushed and encourage me to try and follow my dreams no matter how hard and challenging they might be. One of my big goals besides bringing home a medal was to try and inspire those around me in some way. I hope that both Tracy and I have as all of you have inspired us to keep pushing no matter how hard things got. I know that when I die and it comes time for God to judge me, he will not ask “how many gold medals have you won?” rather he will ask “how many people did you inspire and how much love did you put into what you did and those around you.” This is not only what I hope to have achieved, but it is something you have achieved as well. Thank you for your inspiration and for allowing us become Olympians and represent not only our country, but you. Tracy and I will dedicate our lives to giving back to all of you who have selflessly given to us and our dreams. Thank you!
-Tracy & Lanny