Thanksgiving is truly a North American holiday. In Canada it is celebrated in October, while in the United States it is the last Thursday in November.
For athletes that are from the US, Thanksgiving is a holiday that one rarely gets to celebrate with at home because if your a winter sport athlete most likely your World Cup season has begun. If your a summer sport athlete their is a chance that you have a meet outside of the US, but you do have a greater likelihood that you might be at home.
With that being said your national team is in a sense your family and any American traditions are somewhat spent with the men and women that are in the same shoes as yours. Far from home, but you have a job to do.
This Thanksgiving weekend in Calgary, AB, the US Bobsled and Skeleton team took part in the first of 8 World Cup events. At the same time, other US teams that are competing domestically and on the road include US Ski Team (Alpine), US Speedskating and US Biathlon.
In day 1 of the the FIBT World Cup Women's Skeleton and Men's 2-man bobsled competed. In what could have been a banner day for the US, Noelle Pikus-Pace and Steven Holcomb / Steven Langton all picked up victories.
An hour after Noelle's win, she was disqualified because of a rules violation challenged by the team that finished 2nd. I cannot tell you what or how this rule violation affected the race because it was deemed that though she did everything correct on the course and her sled that was legal just a few days ago now, was now illegal for having tape on the handle. Her win became a DQ which instead of earning her 225 points, now became a zero. Why this matters is after the 8 World Cup events are over, whomever earns the most points has the position to go first at the Olympics when ice conditions are considered to be optimal. You have to somehow put this behind you because you have a job to do next week in Park City, the week after that in Lake Placid, off for the holidays and then go to Europe on December 27, 2013.
On the flip side, Steven Holcomb and Steven Langton raced in the 4th generation, new 2-man BMW bobsled in their first official competition. Holcomb and Langton did some amazing things in the sled, they not only won the races, they also broke the track record twice in two heats that had stood since 2005. Now while Holcomb has piloted 5 consecutive 2-man victories in North America doing so in different technology is very impressive.
At the end of the day, missing a treasured holiday by 99.9% of Americans is another day at the office, 69 days from the start of the Winter Olympic games in Sochi. These athletes will do whatever it takes to not only want to make an Olympic team, but to try and win an Olympic medal. They would rather celebrate Thanksgiving in March then worry about a great turkey dinner today.
To those on their journey to try and become a member of any Olympic team, I thank you for all that you do to represent your country and wish you best of luck in achieving your ultimate goal.