Dear Family and Friends from Kim and our daughter Lavyn
September 21, 2004 (very early morning 2:00 am mst)
At 10:00 am Athens time, Matt King and Eric DeGolier placed 9th in the men's tandem sprint. They narrowly missed the cut-off by two-tenths of a second for the quarterfinals of the Menís Tandem Sprint.
As you can imagine, there are some very mixed feelings about that result. From my phone call with Matt, he said...."We went into the race feeling very good this morning, we felt good, the start was good, it felt like we were going very
fast". Then we looked at the clock and it was amazing to see that time. Not at all what we expected. You canít feel the difference of two-tenths of a second, you have to look at the clock".
They had been doing times so much faster earlier in training. But, as we all know, that is what competition is all about. You have to do those times when it is "show time". No excuses...now we have to put that behind us and focus on the next race, the kilometer, on Wednesday.
Now, my version. Two years ago, we thought about the 2004 Paralympic Games and whether or not Matt should compete. Of course, I had total confidence that Matt would make the team if paired with the right partner. I believed, I prayed about it, and began nagging Matt about competing at the 2004 Trials. It was a very difficult time for us because I was missing
him race competitively. However, he was focused on being a good father and husband and was willing to not compete anymore. Which I may add, he is a very good dad and husband! But, I just couldn't imagine him not being at the 2004 Paralympic Games, representing our country. When Matt and I finally made the decision for him to compete at the 2004 Cycling Trials, to hopefully, make the 2004 Athens Paralympic cycling team, we were very well acquainted with the physical, mental and financial challenges that would come with Matt competing at his third Paralympic Games. We knew the training schedule coupled with Matt's IBM job responsibilities, raising a 2 year old and me being pregnant would be exhausting. And, yes - it has been challenging and exhausting.
But, we were also very challenged by the fact that the US Paralympics had made the time standards more difficult, team member slots had been decreased - meaning Matt and his captain would have to go faster than he has ever gone in the past to be on a Paralympic team, Matt would have to be the healthiest and strongest he has ever been in his life to even make the 2004 Paralympic Games Team, we would have to find a talented and athletic captain who was going to be a team player and could attend the many mandatory training camps and train at the level Carmichael Training Systems coaches (Lance Armstong's coach) demand. Matt was challenged by the fact that he would, for the first time, have a real full-time coaching staff and very competitive teammates to work with. We wouldn't have to pay for a coach or work with volunteers who couldn't always devote the hours needed to his training schedule. He would also get to work with the legendary Eddie B. (Lance and Greg LeMond's former coach).
Now today, Eric and Matt did it! They just competed at the Paralympic Games...Eric and Matt are top 10 in the world! They really did it - they competed as a TEAM! I am so very proud of them. I hope you can understand that to me it wasn't or isn't all about the medal. It was about Matt fighting the good fight with a real teammate, having support from his coaches, teammates, and other USA cycling staff, setting a goal, enjoying his time training and pushing himself to the limit. Most of all, seeing him "smile" and having fun warms my heart! It has been challenging and hard, but well worth it all!
We have truly been blessed to have Eric be a part of this Paralympic dream. It came true....they are in Athens Greece representing the United States of America, they have worked and trained many long hours, there have been many days and months without Matt being home because of so much training time and his IBM work responsibilities. Yes, we have missed him terribly. But, we also know that we truly worked as a team! We have won together and will also comfort each other knowing the match sprint time wasn't the result we wanted. Matt and Eric are truly a team!
Most importantly, our daughter, Lavyn, has truly benefited from Matt and Eric's Paralympic experience. Its amazing what 2 year olds can learn...she says, "My daddy and Mr. Eric work very hard, they practice to get better. And, if I am going to get better and learn; I have to practice my ABC's". "Mr. Eric and daddy are good friends and they love each other". Eric has been an amazing teammate both on and off the bike, he is definitely loved and very much appreciated. (Eric I will some day take you up on your offer to baby sit! You, too, Barb. And, Eric, thank you for pushing my husband to be a better person!)
Now, we have to move forward and be positive. They have spent more time training for the "kilometer" - they have to stay focused and forget the tandem sprint results. There next "show time" is on Wednesday, September 22. Keep thinking positive thoughts! Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they prepare for the next step of competing on Wednesday.
Thank you for all the encouraging words - the cards, phone calls, and e-mails are the greatest! We are overwhelmed by your generosity, yet very grateful, for all your support over the years! Thank you. We couldn't do it without you!
Now, as Lavyn would say, "Go go daddy and Mr. Eric - you can do it!" Go Go USA! (She is definitely one of Team USA's biggest cheerleaders and fans). Love Kim, Lavyn and baby
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