I have enjoyed watching the Olympic coverage the last week or so. It’s amazing to me what these talented athletes are capable of doing. From curling, to bobsledding, to skiing and figure skating, there are so many fun events to watch during the Olympics. One of my favorite stories from the Olympics has been that of U.S. gold medalist Kaitlyn Farrington, who won the women’s snowboard halfpipe last week in Sochi.
Farrington told reporters that her early career was funded by selling the family’s cattle. Farrington’s family raises beef cattle in Sunny Valley, ID, and the only way for her family to fund her snowboarding career was to sell cattle off the ranch, one by one.
"When I started competing in bigger events, my dad had to sell his cows just to get me to those bigger events across the country. Before I would go to school, I would help my dad load a cow up into the trailer, maybe two, and he'd take them to the cattle sale and auction them off,” she told reporters at a news conference.
Subscribe now to Cow-Calf Weekly to get the latest industry research and information in your inbox every Friday!
According to Reuters, Farrington has battled through some obstacles in her snowboarding career, including several knee injuries, a wrist fracture, and a broken thumb. She credits her childhood working on the ranch for helping her get through these personal setbacks.
“Growing up on a ranch made me the person I am today," she said. "It definitely made me a tough girl. As my parents have been saying this whole journey, 'just cowgirl up'. That's kind of what I've gotta do."
Katie Uhlaender is another U.S. Olympic athlete who relies on her abilities to “cowgirl up” to help her compete on a global level. Uhlaender raises cattle on her family’s farm in Kansas, and she recently did an interview with modernfarmer.com about how she balances her cattle responsibilities and her sports training.
“Putting that much effort into something and getting the reward and the big check is just awesome. And knowing that you’re feeding the nation with all-natural cows from an all-natural athlete is very rewarding. It’s very American. I’m proud to be a farmer and to go to the Olympics representing the U.S.” she told modernfarmer.com.
Uhlaender missed winning a bronze medal in the skeleton race by .04 seconds, but chances are we will see her again at the summer Olympics in two years, where she will compete in the weightlifting competition.
“Farming is a lot like anything else. You have to have a drive to get up and do what you have to do. I think that’s what’s great about farmers. It doesn’t matter if you’re too sick to get up and move the hay bale. It still has to get moved. You just have to get it done. Farming and being an athlete go hand in hand in my mind. You’re out there to win and you’re up against the odds. You can’t control the weather or a lot of things, but you go out and do what you do,” she added.
I don’t know about you, but I’m proud of our two Olympic cowgirls! I love hearing stories like this, and it just goes to show that kids who have a background in production agriculture know how to work hard and go the extra mile. And as a result, they can do amazing things.
And here’s one more for you. When the U.S. hockey team beat the Russians 3-2 in a shootout last weekend, the U.S. team’s hero was T.J. Oshie, who scored four shootout goals in that game. Oshie is a Minnesota boy who played college hockey for the University North Dakota, and is now a professional with the St. Louis Blues. Following the U.S.-Russia match, he was mobbed by media and was asked how it felt to be an American hero. In a tip of his hat to our soldiers in uniform, Oshie replied, “The heroes are the ones in camo.” How’s that for class?
What are your thoughts on our American athletes and the Olympics in general? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
More resources for you: