Cheeney Going Away Party Thursday at Ska
It would be easy.
“Love,” Tracy Barnes said of giving up her spot on the U.S. biathlon team to her twin sister, Lanny, “is selfless dedication.
“Love means giving up your dream so someone else can realize theirs.”
Tracy (left) and Lanny Barnes at a biathlon event in Vancouver // photo courtesy US Biathlon/Nordic Focus
Understand the numbers. The U.S. Census population estimate for the start of 2014: just over 317 million. The U.S. women’s biathlon team that goes to Sochi in just a few weeks: five. Essentially, by the time it got down to Sunday’s final qualifying race, there was one spot up for grabs. One in 317 million. For comparison, your chance of winning the lottery on a single ticket is one in 175 million.
Really, Tracy Barnes said. It was easy.
“If I were to sum up the decision,” she reiterated, “it’s not hard to make a decision like that when you care about someone. Anyone who cares about someone can relate to making a sacrifice for someone they care for.”
Tracy and Lanny Barnes are 31 years old. This is, probably, their last best chance at the Olympic Games.
Biathlon is the ski-and-shoot combination. The United States has never won an Olympic medal in the sport. Many observers believe 2014 could well be the breakthrough year.
The twins are from Durango, Colorado. Their dad, Thad, is a contractor; mom, Deborah, was a long-time schoolteacher; older sister, Christie, who lives now in Burlington, Vermont, is on her way to becoming an ENT surgeon and, Tracy said, is “a big inspiration to us.”
Tracy is the younger of the twins by five minutes. Even so, she said, “Most people think I am the older one because I take on that role. I like to take care of her,” adding a moment later, “I think I have always taken on that motherly role. She would roll her eyes. I have always looked out for her in whatever way I can, the way an older sister or sibling would do. Just take on that role. I do what I can for her.”
The sisters didn’t get on skis, or even think about combining shooting and skiing, until they met a US Biathlon coach at a local competition.
When they were 18, they made their first junior world championship team. Two years later, Lanny medaled at the 2003 junior worlds.
Both made the 2006 Torino Games. At the time, they were 23. Lanny finished 64th in the 15-kilometer event, Tracy 57th. Tracy also came home 71st in the 7.5km sprint; the twins were part of the 15th-place U.S. finish in the 4x6km relay.
Tracy said: “We were so young and inexperienced. You always want to follow up with another Olympics. Your first one — just so you can have that first one under your belt so you’re not so green. There’s more to the Olympics than just going and competing. I think that’s a big part of it for me.”
In 2010 in Vancouver, Tracy did not qualify. Only Lanny. Her best individual finish: 23rd in the 15k.
As the Olympic qualifying season unfolded, two of the five spots on the Sochi 2014 team were locked up early, dictated by results on tour. They went to Susan Dunklee of Barton, Vermont, and Annelies Cook of Saranac Lake, New York.
Then Sara Studebaker of Boise, Idaho — like Lanny, a 2010 Olympian — and Hannah Dreissigacker of Morrrisville, Vermont, earned their spots.
Dreissigacker clinched her spot with 18-for-20 shooting, and a 10th-place finish, at an IBU Cup event Saturday in Ridnaun, Italy. She and Dunklee grew up skiing together in northern Vermont.
Thus it came down to Sunday’s racing, at that same IBU Cup in Italy.
Sunday’s race: a 7.5k sprint.
Tracy Barnes finished 10th. She shot clean — no penalties.
That clinched it for the committee, which by rule had a discretionary spot — Tracy Barnes was not just the U.S. athlete with the next-best record over the qualifying period, she seemed to be peaking, and just in time for the Games.
But — wait.
Before that race, Tracy had already made her decision.
During the final four team-selection races, Lanny had been sick, unable to compete in all but one.
Tracy knew the rules, her status and her sister’s, too — if she turned down the spot, Tracy knew Lanny had the next-best record over the entire qualifying period and thus would be the athlete the committee was all but sure to turn to.
“For me, this decision was pretty easy,” she said again.
“It’s a pretty heavy situation, I guess,” she said with a laugh. “I have been through a fair number of Olympic Trials in my career. I know they’re pretty brutal emotionally. I know there can be a chance where bad luck can on the side of an athlete. Just having watched Lanny through this week and how she even tried to race one race sick, that never works, even — especially — at the level we are trying to race at.
“I have trained with her almost every day now, almost half our life, 15 years now. I have seen her dedication. So I could definitely see she deserves to be on the team.”
After Sunday’s racing was over, the two sisters went for a walk — actually more of a hike up into the mountains.
“I told her,” Tracy said, “I had something to tell her.”
She added, “Of course she protested.”
There were tears. A lot. On both sides.
“I told her,” Tracy said, “I had been inspired by her performances this year and I really think she is on a great path and I really want to see how far she can go.”
From high in the Italian mountains, Tracy then called Max Cobb, the president and chief executive of US Biathlon, at his home in Vermont. He ended up having to call her back from a landline. The cell reception was scratchy. Even so, he understood.
“It’s a remarkable thing, even for a sister — even for a twin sister — to be selfless enough to understand that another athlete would have a better opportunity to perform at the Games,” he said, “and give that away.”
He called it “one of the most inspiring gesture of sportsmanship I have ever seen. It is exactly what you hope Olympic sport inspires,” adding, “To see Tracy do this for Lanny speaks volumes about their character and what it means to represent the United States at the Olympics.”
“I can’t even begin to describe,” Lanny Barnes said, “what it means to me that Tracy made such a huge sacrifice for me.
“It’s hard to put into words what she did and what it means to me.”
She added a moment later, “Often times during the hype of the Games we forget what the Olympics are really about. They aren’t about the medals and the fame and all of that. The Olympics are about inspiration, teamwork, excellence and representation. I can think of no better example of the true Olympic spirit than what Tracy did this past weekend. It took a lot of courage and sacrifice to make such a powerful decision.”
She also said, “It’s not every day that you are given a second chance like this. I thought my chance at the Olympics was over. But now I’ve got a second chance and will do everything I can to bring honor to her,” meaning Tracy, “ and our country in Russia.”Read More
Cyclocross race action has been moved from Aztec to Durango and race times have been moved back 1 hour to accommodate the FLC Graduation. Take note, Open women and B Men go at 11am with the A Men and 35+ers at 12pm. Its snowing outside and looks to be a great day for Cyclocross. Check out the FLC Blog for more information.Read More
Cyclocross is on this weekend! Saturday’s race will bring later start times of 2pm for the Cat B Men, Open Women and 50+ Men and then 3pm for the A Men and 35+ Men. Also new this race will be Fort Lewis College Athletic department is helping us live stream both races on the internet, on this link, http://www.americaonesports.com/static/ftlewis.html.
Local Television station IDTV will be manning the cameras and along with the live feed, they will be putting together a post event edit of the event to be show on-line and on the tube starting in January.
The race will be a good test for the local athletes headed to the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships in mid January, in Boulder, Colorado. The course is very turny and will sure to home to many a rutted out snow field. The event starts and finishes in the FLC Cyclocross Stadium and the course is very centrally located, good for spectating.
Teddy, U14 rider and brother of Nano, has been going through yet another round of Chemo and battling with cancer. Below is his dad’s latest post. To help out or receive updates(they travel to Denver once a month to get five days straight of chemo so they could use help with gas money, etc.) go to www.teamteddy.net
Not sure of much, but…
Dec 10, 2013 9:32pm
Chemo by mouth at home sounded like a grand idea.
Just five days.
Three pills at bedtime.
First night, Teddy shakes a capsule with great suspicion. He mockingly peers deep into its core looking for something slimy, “You sure about this?”
What can we say?
We’re not sure about much these days.
He tilts his head back in pure Teddy drama, “Here goes one grenade down the hatch!”
Second night, I’m wishing for the infusion bag.
Pale faced and on the couch by then.
With the infusion bag, he gets chemo from the metal rolling hanger with spindly tubes and needles.
They’re the culprit.
With the capsules, it comes straight from mom and dad.
One toxic grenade after another.
We’re not even supposed to touch the stuff.
Arrives in a dark, glass bottle.
The next week is spent completely wiped out in bed with an appetite for zero.
Zero food, liquid and fun…with the exception of when Aunt Karen or Cousin Caleb drops in from up the hill.
Pill by pill we seemed to lose our Teddy.
His spirit completely broken and docile; realizing that this will be one long, eighteen month haul.
Last night he lounged solemnly in bed adorned with a camping headlamp.
Reading King David’s Psalms.
Psalms of despair, trust and hope in the midst of the unseemly.
One after another.
“Want me to rub your feet, Bugga?”
“Sure, but I might kick you in the face. You know, blood everywhere.”
Imagine teenage smirk on face.
“You’re turning down a foot rub? That’s stupid. I’ll take my chances.”
He smiles benignly.
Starting to soften and feel somewhat whole.
Cracking Teddy jokes.
Soon after, I gently prodded, “We need to sleep, Bugga.”
I slowly started to pull his Bible from his tight grasp. He fought back and fiercely curled around it in a tight ball.
Never letting go.
Desperately hanging on.
Still somehow, by fierce faith, sure of God’s goodness in this journey.
Quietly wept ourselves to sleep.
This morning was supposed to be his first day back at school.
Didn’t work out.
He hid out in the car.
Maybe will try again tomorrow.
Back on the ranch, we needed to offload Ziggy, our sweet paint mare, and Waffles, our braying burro.
Sad to see them go.
Ears, noes and eyes flickering through the slit panels of the horse trailer as they rolled away.
Seemingly not sure of much.
But happy to leave “together” to their new home.
A wonderful home with dear friends just across the valley.
The Elk are bedded down below. Spindly legs, lethargic from pawing away the crusty snow, yet they can scale a Colorado mountain in a heart beat.
Phantoms in the frosty mist.
Their bellies full of freezing grass.
It’s below zero out there.
On the other end of the wild kingdom, Henri, our cow pug, is on the outside terrace looking in.
Blind as a bat.
Smooshed nose frozen up against the glass.
A wreath of fog fanning out from his twitching, bubble-eyed face. Waiting patiently to be let in to the warmth of our wood stove.
Not sure of much.
Rather confident though that “together” inside by the fire, is far better than outside down in the valley with the spindly things…Read More
Come check out the racing action this Saturday at Fort Lewis College at 10 and 11am. Yes, it will be chilly, but the cyclocross action should warm you right up. Will have coffee from Bread as well! This will be round 4 of the Durango Performance Center Cross Series and bound to be the fastest field yet with several local pros in town. It is a USA Cycling event so if you want to jump in, you’ll need an annual license or the option to buy a one day for 10 dollars. Either way, come on up and have a good time with our local cycling scene. For more information, check out the FLC Blog.Read More
This year Devo will be one of the beneficiaries at the annual Red Ball Express Fundraiser put on by United Way and the Durango International Rotary Club.
We will be selling tickets in front of Steaming Bean for Noel Night Friday, December 6th from 4 till 8. Please stop by and help support Devo.
75% of the tickets we sell go straight to Devo and will fund:
Purchase of equipment
This fundraiser will be a great success if each family/athlete could sell 5 tickets. In addition to funding Devo, other non-profits and the United Way people who buy tickets have a chance to win $5,000, $2,000 and $1,000 at DMR Feb. 8th.
For more information about the Red Ball Express visit: durangoredball.com
You can pick up tickets at Durango Cyclery during business hours from now until mid January. It would be great if anyone can pick up tickets for other Devo families since reaching people in the off-season can be difficult.
Important information about the Red Ball Express:
Each ticket has a unique tracking number on it. When you sell a ticket, have the buyer fill out the right side of the ticket with name, contact information, etc (or you can fill it out for him/her). We need the contact information in order to identify the winner. Be sure to give the buyer the LEFT side of the ticket to keep. If we receive the wrong side of the ticket, it will not be entered into the contest.
You should keep the RIGHT side of each ticket, and get them to Amy Haggart at the Devo office by Jan. 30th. If you do not return the stubs to us, those tickets will not be entered into the contest.
All of the information on how to sell and fill out the Red Ball Tickets will come with the packet you will pick up.
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