I have been the instigator and heart of ‘Team Chemmy’ for almost 30 years. Since 1984 I defined myself as being a ski racer. A few months ago I made the tough decision to stop pursuing my ski racing dreams. Thankfully, I quickly became busy redefining myself as a bride planning an end of season wedding. This ended in the most fabulous day on June 6th when I became Mrs Crawford.
So now what? Everyone says the world is your oyster and you can be anyone you want to be. But what if you want to be exactly who you were before but just look and think of the world differently?
I admire Chemmy Alcott the ski racer a lot. She showed heart, determination and passion. As the new Chemmy Crawford I aim to build on that. In a few years, Dougie and I, would like to try to start a family and our new and most important roles will be as parents.
So now is my time to find out who I am away from competition (not away from the slopes as I will undoubtably be still calling them home come winter time!)
I feel through all my experiences as a racer and the challenges I faced, I have learnt skills to possibly help others. This ‘bouncebackability’ word often used to describe the last few years of my career was a result of how I viewed injury as an opportunity. To turn negatives into positives. To choose how you react to them. Everyone at some point in their lives faces adversity. Mine were not just professional challenges. Personally life also through me some big curve balls. The shock of my mother passing away in my early 20s was undoubtably a turning point in how I lived my life. It made me realise the importance of living every day; every moment.
That is where my positivity and sunny outlook comes from. But this has also given me the tools to help others through tough times. Whether that be through public speaking, the consultancy business I will set up to help anyone from businesses, schools, and budding young ski racers to World Cup elite athletes or as part of the management side where I am already in talks to help former fellow British Winter Olympians get the support they need, or in my role as a mentor for Surbiton High School’s talented athlete programme.
But there is a huge part of me that will remain unfulfilled by my decision to retire from racing - I am and always will be a competitor. So how will I satisfy that? Well I want to remain involved in healthy lifestyle, in pushing myself physically to see what I can achieve.
So I am going to start a 12 week challenge life and blog along the way - inevitably I won’t always succeed with the challenges I choose but it is about how I can adapt and the psychology of how I will aim to face them that I am looking forward to.
My first is slightly less than 12 weeks away. #ChemChallenge1 is Ride London. Yes, for my first I am going to play it slightly safer since I don’t have the preparation time. As part of the Telegraph team on August 10th I will tackle the 100 mile cycle race, following some of the route that the London Olympians rode. We will be raising money for Bliss, the official Prudential RideLondon charity, which provides care and support for premature and sick babies and their families and giving £10 per rider, per mile – so fingers crossed if all six of our team finish that will mean £6,000 goes to Bliss.
Part of me thinks I can manage this challenge because I have done a lot of biking in the past to build up my endurance on the slopes. But the bigger part of me knows that sitting on a bike for 6 hours is not something an ex racer trained for 2 minute competitions will be comfortable with!
So next monday on Facebook I will upload my first blog about how training is going, my fears and excitement and of course how much chamois cream I used in the first week!!
So welcome to the new life of Chemmy Crawford!