Kaylin Richardson is no stranger to the Olympics as she competed at Torino. She also began skiing at the age of five in the Twin Cities suburbs, just a few miles away from fellow Olympian, Lindsey Vonn.
MindBodyGreen: Why skiing? Did you play other sports? What is it about skiing you love?
Kaylin Richardson: My parents were astute enough to see that their little tomboy of a girl would not thrive in ballet class where there really is a right and wrong way to do something. However, I was not, and am not, the full free spirit. It would have been lovely to be the creative, artistic child that made beautiful things and was ambivalent when it came to competition. I was not that; I fully comprehended the concept of winning, and I really liked it. I also wasn't into the full, military regimen of gymnastics either (today I stand at 5'10'' so I am glad that did not take because I think my dreams would have been dashed in 4th grade when I cleared five feet). I needed something with a little more self-expression. Lucky family that we Richardsons are, we sort of stumbled into ski racing by accident. I loved soccer as well, but it came to a point when I had to choose to specialize and naturally skiing won out. It was a perfect mixture of tasks and skills to master while also giving me the freedom to be myself. I continue to fall in love over and over again with the exhilaration of skiing down a mountain with the wind in your face.
MBG: What’s a typical workout like for you?
KR: It depends on the day; it could be weightlifting one day, cardio another, or plyometrics, exercises designed to improve explosivity and quickness the next. For me it is all about variety. I love to mountain bike and play games as much as I love the feeling of accomplishment after an intense workout in the gym. It is important to never get stagnant or stuck in a rut with my workouts; I try to keep it interesting and fun as well as productive.
MBG: How do you cross-train in the spring and summer?
KR: It differs with my surroundings. If I am training in the mountains I will modify my workouts to utilize them, if I have some great training partners for a week, I will set up some fun sprints or a group game. In the spring it is more about getting back into the swing of conditioning after a long season; the summer is when you get down to business and make your gains.
MBG: You grew up near Lindsey Vonn and competed against her from a young age. Usually in athletics, you have to wait until you’re older to face top-notch competition – do you think it helped to compete against someone so good at a young age?
KR: Lindsey was always prodigy. She was great to watch at a young age when we raced in MN, but she left to live in Vail, Colorado when she was 12 or 13 and I didn’t see much of here until much later when I myself made the National Team. It is amazing to witness her confidence manifested on the ski slope, and she is every bit as sweet now as she was years ago on the mole hills of home which speaks a great deal about her character.
KR: What was Torino like?
MBG: To have the honor of representing my country, the United States of America, at the pinnacle of athletic competition was somewhat surreal. The energy that buzzed during the entire games was almost tangible; I have never experienced anything like it. To be present at an Olympic Games gave you a little glimpse of how much we, as citizens of the world, have in common. Each one of us had worked so hard and sacrificed so much to be there and that collective bond gave me perspective that I would never had otherwise. It truly was fantastic!
MBG: What’s on your playlist before a race?
KR: Anything with a beat. My mood deciphers the actual song. If I need to get revved up it will be something like Queen or Jay-Z. If I need to calm down and relax it might be Ben Folds or Morcheeba. I have a very eclectically crazy library of music with a little bit of everything to choose from.
MBG: What will you have for breakfast the day you compete?
KR: While in Europe where we do the majority of our competing preferably it would be some good, dark bread with jam, stacked with some cheese, meat, and a hard boiled egg, for good measure, maybe some muesli and yogurt on the side. At home an omelet and oatmeal combo is always a great way to start my day.
MBG: Do you follow a special diet in preparation for the Olympics?
KR: I just try to get what I need: my greens, protein, and good carbs. It can sometimes be a challenge, but I try to make it a priority.
MBG: Who inspires you?
KR: Anyone who is completely comfortable in his or her own skin.
MBG: Is there anyone you are looking forward to meeting at the Vancouver Olympics?
KR: I am a huge fan of bobsled driver Bree Schaaf. I have had the privilege of watching her quick rise in bobsled and the combination of explosive power and focus it takes is incredibly impressive. However, beyond her athletic prowess she seems like so much fun. Her personality is dynamite and I think she could be a kindred spirit.
For more on Kaylin Richardson:
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Photo credit: Christian Jansky