High and lows

Our journey home begins today. It will be difficult to leave the 50+ degree weather but is always good to get back home. Thought I would recap our experience with some highs and lows.
Highs/greats
This entire journey

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Meeting friends on the flights

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Arriving safely

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Our home for 2 1/2 weeks

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Sunsets

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Olympic flame

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The fish spa

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Mountain cluster

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Russian food

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The today show

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Signs of spring

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Games

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Olympic Rings

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Silver!

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Podium flowers
Support

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A proud family

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The first 57 minutes of the gold medal game

Lows
The last 3 minutes of the gold medal game

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Blessed to bring a silver home from this great group of girls

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Lows:
The last 3 minutes of the gold medal game.

It’s been a great journey! Thanks for coming along with us and being a part of this experience. We love you all for your support and interest in our family ‘s incredible Olympic experience! We don’t know when Anne will be home but when she does, we’ll be sharing this medal with all of you! It’s gorgeous!
Off to bed it’s 12:30 am and we have a flight in the morning!
Deb

Feb19

Well, it’s been a couple days of downtime, while we wait for the big game tomorrow.
We went to the mtn cluster yesterday and saw the women’s alpine skiing finals. It rained all day and it was a struggle for the athletes. It was raining on the bottom half of the course and snowing at the starting gate with fog that would come in over the mountain from time to time. Not a great picture day but here are a couple I took with my phone,

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We left our rental wifi unit on the train coming back from the mtn cluster!! Ugh, not going to go into it but let’s just say it was a long day trying to retrieve it with not knowing how many trains go to and from the mtn as well as a language barrier! But after lots of translating and many hours, we retrieved it at the train station police dept. !! Funny that the documentation once they gave it back was Jim writing on a piece of notebook paper that he took the item from them and signed his name..That’s it!! I just kept thinking back home this would lots and lots of paperwork!!
Today we went to the Olympic park and hung out. We got tickets to the today show and that was a blast!!

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We went to the P&G house where Charlie white and Meryl Davis stopped with their medals, all medal athletes stop at the P&G house for a celebration. Very fun!
We stayed and watched the USA men on the big screen tonight

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And took hockey pics of the women’s hockey families:

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Tomorrow is the day these athletes have trained and sacrificed much to get to where they are today in the gold medal game! None of them would be here without all of you believing in them, encouraging them, praying for them, and loving them. We thank you all and hope that the medal in less than 24 hours is gold! Girls are focused and ready for the challenge.
Go team USA!!πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‘πŸ†
Den

Good morning!

Yesterday we slept late so Adam could adjust to the 10 hour time change. We went to the USA men’s hockey game and took Adam around the Olympic park.
We celebrated the women’s silver medalist of skeleton at the p&g house. What a story!! She had a injury and was not able to participate in Torino then lost by .001 seconds in Vancouver to medal. Her husband said one more try this time, he built her sled, and with a lot of support and sacrifice from
Her family she made the Sochi team and is bringing home gold!!! She was so excited when the p&g house introduced her entire family. Her little girl kept jumping up and down. Very exciting to watch it all culminate for her!!! (Photos below)
Ended our day celebrating a birthday of a USA defenseman’s dad!!
Off to the rink to take on Sweden . Big game as a win will put us into gold medal game!
The team remains very focused on training for these last two games of the tournament so I’m guessing we won’t hear from anne via e mail. We get to visit tonight with her for a few minutes after the game! Alway look forward to that!
Looks like Minne received snow during your slumber ! Has cooled off in Sochi with cloudy a sky and 50 degrees.
Go USA !!!!
Off to the rink!
Deb

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Feb.15

Had an awesome Valentine’s Day! Was able to see Anne for about 20 min after practice!20140215-101756.jpg
We walked to town yesterday as it reached 70 degrees!β˜€οΈ talked with the locals ….. So fun! They love to practice their English with us. A Russian mother and her daughter with 2 friends stopped to chat with us. The 3 children, just learning English would look at us and giggle everytime we spoke! As we left them the one little girl named Sophia would continually repeat “good-bye” over and over. It was one of the few English words she knew! We took a pic with them!
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One of the goalie moms and I ran across a fish spa and yup we did it! I was freaking out but thought why not? I’ll never do this again! It feels like a massage, that is AFTER you get use to fish eating the dead skin off your feet! Gross when you think of it but have to say my feet felt great after.. I know… You’re thinking whatever!!!20140215-103333.jpg
We also came across this local with the little monkey and parrot so took a pic 20140215-103443.jpg
Went to the p&g house and saw this show in the Olympic park. The video did not upload so here is a pic

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Adam flies in later today to catch the medal rounds!! Can’t wait to see him
Anne sent an e mail last night so that is below

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Anne sent email last night so here is her update!!! Love to all reading this.
Keep the comments coming! It keeps us going together on this journey.

Hello!
Been a little while! We’ve been busy with games here. Obviously not the finish we had hoped for with Canada obviously but the best thing is that we didn’t play our best so the best is yet to come for us in these next 2 games. Also, some may have noticed I was gone almost all of the 3rd period in that game then returned with about 5minutes remaining – I was in our locker room getting stitched up by our doc! (picture below.. don’t look if that stuff makes you white in the face ha) I took a skate to the wrist during a scrum in front of the net, I’m totally fine tho! It’s healing fast and I skated today so it won’t keep me out by any means!

Got to see our families!! FINALLY! It was definitely a refresher. My friend Alethea Lamberson was able to make the trip through her work with Athletes in Action so got to see her also! She’s been hanging with my family from time to time too which is fun and makes it to all of our games as a super super fan. Adam wasn’t there Wednesday night after the game with us but will be getting in Saturday night to Sochi. I know he is excited and I am too! :) (picture of us 4 at the USA P&G house below)

My whole family is here – YES, even you Grandma Rosie & Grandma Kay! – you two look fabulous standing next to me in front of the Olympic rings! (see picture below) On a serious note, it is like you all are here. I appreciate you all checking in with me and sending me love from afar :) Love you!

ps. Not to rub it in but it was 66 degrees today ;) Sure made me a happy camper!

-Anne

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Feb 13

It was not the outcome we wanted however it was a great game. We are getting lots of texts and tweets from US that the second goal should not have counted that the whistle blew b 4 puck crossed line, and that Canada was not called for too many women on the ice a couple times but that is the way it was called so we move forward .
The girls were in good spirits after the game . Said they came out a little on their heels but will be fine and are moving forward . I don’t know time of the game on the 17th yet but will let u know after tomorrow’s games . We took second in pool so will have a bye first round and go right into the semis. If u noticed that Anne was not on the ice a good portion of the third she was cut by a skate about 2 min into the third . Needed to go back in locker room and get 8 stitches on her left wrist area. She returned with about. 5 min left and shot that nice blast from the blue line to close the gap to. 3-2. She is just fine!!
Tomorrow will be a “chill ” day for us . Suppose to be bout 65 degrees so parents are going to gather on the top deck of ship and have a media day…. sharing photos with each other and getting everyone ‘s photos onto our computers.
The sunsets here are gorgeous .

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And if anyone knows what kind if Russian fashion statement this is let me know !! We saw this on the train on the way back from the game! Grocery bags and cardboard bottoms secured with a rubber band!! What the heck !! And her child carrying the mom’s at least 4 ” high heels!!! Goofiest thing I’ve seen in a long time but we sure laughed all the way home!

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Thanks again for your continued support! Pool play completed now onto semis!!! Go USA !!

Feb. 12

Hi family and friends!
Another great day in Sochi!
We used our one day pass to the USA house. Free food and drinks all day and good talks with other athlete parents.
Went to the USA store and bought a few things. Always fun!
We went to the women’s 500 m speed skating event tonight! Wow!! The strength in legs!! Learned a lot about the sport as we watched. Sat next to a dad of one of the men’s speed skaters. He helped us to understand the event.
So fun to talk to other athlete’s parents- the sacrifices of the families and the athlete’s blows us away. Seems weird that even though we’ve been on the same journey as these other families We’ve never really thought of it as a sacrifice, It was just something we did with our kids because they were interested in it .
Big game with Canada tomorrow ! Hoping for a win so we can avoid goaltender Nora and the fins going into the medal round. Anne was the. # 3 star in game yesterday, was in the top 4 for ice time and was a +4!!
Thanks for all the thoughts and prays for us and the team! Please keep them coming as we need to hear from home .
Go USA !!
Ps did not hear from Anne today. Dinner with team after game tomorrow! Can’t wait to hug her! First time we’ll see here since we arrived!

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The oval 500m speed skating

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The flame that traveled to Sochi for the games !

Article

Someone shared this article with me today:
Kravitz: Olympics a blessing for US women’s hockey player
By Bob Kravitz, bob.kravitz@indystar.com 4:28 p.m. EST February 9, 2014

(Photo: Matt Slocum)
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SOCHI, Russia – Here’s why journalists love the Olympics, at least when they’re not being locked in their hotel bathrooms or fashioning shower curtains out of towels and tape:

Because they get to talk to young women like U.S. hockey Olympian Anne Schleper, a St. Cloud, Minn., native and University of Minnesota product, who lights up a room with her presence and treats media attention like a blessing rather than a drudgery.

Our pro athletes pummel us with clichΓ©s and misdirected anger – nobody picked us to win this game! Nobody! – but women such as Schleper, who plies her trade in relative anonymity through most of the four-year Olympic cycle, appreciate and enjoy the attention.

“Every day, I’m reminded how blessed I am,” said Schleper, who became a deeply committed Christian her sophomore year at Minnesota. “God’s given me this platform as an elite athlete and now as an Olympic athlete. It’s just an awesome daily reminder, the life he’s given me to live. And the teammates I’ve been given to go on this journey with? Like, are you kidding me?

“I’m often asked, `When will this sink in?’ I thought it would sink in while I was here, but I’m starting to think, it may not sink in until years down the road – like, what an experience that truly was.”

For Schleper and the gold-medal favorite U.S. hockey team, this is a chance for them to be introduced to the biggest audience they’ve ever known.

And they deserve it.

MORE KRAVITZ: Dude shreds to gold. Whoa!

MORE: Falls, crazy eyes, bathroom mayhem

This may be her first Olympics – she’s one of 10 first-timers on the U.S. team – but her resume is already quite impressive. The 2012 Minnesota graduate has won three world championship medals (gold in 2011 and 2013) and silver (2012), was a 2008 U-18 champ and a 2012 national champion at the University of Minnesota.

Schleper isn’t the captain of the U.S. team, but she is one of the unquestioned leaders on a team with eyes on a massive prize in these Games. She is a stay-at-home defenseman, although she showed great poise in moving the puck up to her speedy forwards during Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Finland. She had an assist.

“They call me `Steady Eddie,’ ” she said after her team prepared for Monday’s game against underdog Switzerland.

Asked about leadership, she gave a perfect definition:

“Leadership is you know the way, you show the way and you go the way,” she said. “Leadership is not just you leading all the others and having them follow you all the time. It’s about making leaders out of them, empowering them. That’s what it is to me.”

Said U.S. women’s coach Katey Stone: “Anne’s just a solid person, such a high-character kid, and she prepares herself so well. We never have to worry about her preparation or her readiness. She’s a big, strong defenseman – great reach, skates well, big shot.”

Schleper’s inspiration, besides her faith, comes from her older brother, Adam, a CPA in Dallas who is four years her senior.

“He’s nothing famous, but he’s such an inspiration to me because of his hard work and determination in life and how he lives his life,” Schleper said. “He’s always so serving and giving, just an awesome person. All the way up, growing up, he’s always been that inspiration and light for me.”

Her parents, Jim and Deb, already are here in Sochi, and Adam, who is in his busiest time of the year (tax season), will arrive next Saturday in time for the medal round.

Security concerns?

There were none.

How often do you get to see your daughter – or your sister – compete in the Olympic Games?

The Schlepers got here got here with help from the St. Cloud community. The St. Cloud Youth Hockey Association raised almost $750 with a raffle, and the Schlepers earned more money toward their trip here from T-shirt sales.

“It’s so important for me to share this journey with the people who mean the most to me,” Anne said.

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Feb.7, 2014

No game today so the crew headed into town for a bit of sightseeing and shopping.
The town of Adler is a quaint little town. Lots of little shops to looks through.
I picked up the mascots of the Olympic Games and a Russian doll set. Will go back on another day off.
On our walk we came upon a music/ art school, guessing grades 4-6. The students were giving a concert outside and their art was displayed. Very very talented young people! See pics below.
It has been fun communicating with the Russian community. We have an app on our phone that we talk into and it translates to Russian and then the person can hear the correct pronunciation of the phrase being said. It’s been a blast communicating like that and the Russians love it. We find them to be very friendly people. When the translation comes through and they understand the look on their face is so darn cute! We all end up laughing. They are doing their best to learn English and love to learn from us. They always thank us for helping them learn English.
We “chilled” at the ship tonight with our USA parents…..awesome awesome group of people. It is not about “my daughter” it’s about team. They always speak of team…team first and love every women on this team as their own. Incredible.
Anne e mailed tonight and that follows. Have a great day back in Minne!! It’s 2:00 am here and going to go to bed …big game tomorrow. Thank you in advance if you get up to watch it live!!!!

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Grass in Sochi…it’s beautiful

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USA parents…. Great great people!!! Team first!!! We are with the Olympic mascots!

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School of the arts

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#22 defense kacey Bellamy’s dad …. This is just one of the things USA parents do late at night after a few cocktails!!! Reading glasses…..think I’ll look for a pair.

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Anne's e mail:
Hello Hello!

Was just thinking today how fast the days here have gone! Already gearing up for our second game.. so crazy! I know most of you got yourself up at the painful hour of 2/3am (or maybe just stayed up?!) to watch our first game vs Finland – yall are the best!! Great game for us too – I think the first one is always the hardest. The team feels very settled in now as we were able to shake off some cobbwebs with that game. Now just preparing for a restful nights sleep tonight before tomorrow's matchup vs. Switzerland!

That preparation for tomorrow's game did however involve our entire floor cheering for our US Figure Skating Team pair Charlie White and Meryl Davis as they competed tonight – they killed it! We kept joking with Charlie yesterday because he ate his 'pre game meal' with us hockey girls and had yet another stellar performance so it looks like he'll need to keep up that habit :) Can't explain how awesome it is to have all the other US athletes cheering for you too. The entire bobsledding team, both men's and women's, came to our Finland game – and the pictures below is from a lunch some of us had with women of short-track speed skating. Love meeting new people.

As you know we didn't walk in opening ceremonies but we did still dress up and have a little fun with the rings right outside our housing in the village. (check out picture below) And now the torch is officially lit!! It really adds to the Olympic Park… and to beautiful sunsets too :)

Off to bed! Don't forget to set your alarm clocks for tomorrow's game!
-Anne

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