Thursday, January 30, 2014

Meet Team New Zealand...Sarah Murphy

Hi Everyone :) I am sorry for my silence and lack of updates. I have wanted to, and tried many times, to write this post, but it only came out bitter and angry. What happened is that I did not fulfill the stringent qualification criteria the New Zealand set out and so I was not selected for the Olympics in Sochi. I had made the IBU qualification in almost every IBU race I had done, so it was not a question for International qualification. The NZOC had made made it so I needed to get top 50 in the World Cup 3 times. I was not able to do this due to poor shooting, equipment failure, and poor performance. I gave it my all, but with more than just racing always on my mind (ie. hotel bookings, transport, race registrations, team captain meetings, ski preperations, etc.) I was not able to pull it off. In many of the races I was one or two hits away from fulfilling my 13 year dream. I was having a very hard time to sit down and write about what has happened in the last 2 weeks but with not being selected for the Olympic Team, not qualifying for the last three world cups, and my results not where they should be, it was all just a bit much.

 Movie Break! Here is a little video you can watch that the awesome guys from Biathlonworld TV made during the Hochfilzen, Grande Bornand, and Ruhpolding World Cups.

It was so kind for them to make it as they heard all about my struggles as we had first met the year before in the same transport from Sweden to Norway. It is well made, but unfortunately, in the end, it did not have a fairytale ending.

Here are also two articles from New Zealand explaining a bit about the unfairness of it all. (Please ignore the photos- I look like Jabba the Hutts cousin).

Article 1

Article 2

With all of this media and negativity going around, it has been hard to focus on what is next, and it has been hard to make any sort of decisions on what to do now. After posting it on Facebook, I was bombarded with overwhelming support and messages from family, friends and supporters. Here are a few exampled of the posts below...

"Marianne Baudouin Sarah, you will always be my hero. Love your heart and dedication. Like you said, those memories are priceless. I'm so proud of you for everything you accomplished. I hope my kids have half the heart you do. xxx"

"Cate Scott You have had a great journey and all of us have enjoyed being part of it !! We love you Sarah for who you are as a person not you the biathlete !! May the rest of your life be filled with adventure!!"

"Frank Murphy Hi Sarah. Sorry to hear the news. We are all very proud of your accomplishments over the past several years. Here is what I wrote to the Editor in response to today's article in the Otago Daily Times:

Thanks so much for publishing this article. Sarah has had a terrific series of hardships in her last four years preparing for the 2014 Olympics. As you noted, virtually no support from NZ. Additionally, to mention a few of her trials and tribulations; hitch hiking from competition to competition, getting help from other country competitors (meals, waxing, billeting, transportation etc.) and, financial support from her Mom and Dad and Canadian home town friends, kept her going. Her sponsors added to her support without question. NZ support has been nothing but disgraceful. However, her passion for the sport and love of NZ pushed her on. I’m given to understand that you peak in this sport around the age of 28. For her to quit now is heart breaking. NZ has turned its back on Sarah. Once again, thank you so much Lucy for this article. It’s unfortunate that it is highlighted after the fact.

This article, noted below, was published in the Ortago Daily Times Thursday 23 January 2014

Uncle Frank"

"Lynn Borrowman We have loved every minute of your adventurous spirited heart! Here there and everywhere from NZ to the border of Russia to moose hunting in Sweden!!! Yikes!!! You are the best, Sarah!"

"Richard Battrum: Total shame to hear that you will not be in Sochi.
I understand the struggles that you have been going through and your reasons for retiring. However, I would just like to say that having met you in Bled, Slovenia last year that you are an absolute delight and it was a pleasure for me to meet you, albeit briefly.
You are a credit to your sport and without you taking part the sport will be a much duller place.
Thank you so much for the joy that you have given to me and your fellow supporter/followers over the years and best wishes for everything that you do in the future."

I wish I could post them all, but there are 170 likes, and over 75 comments, not including emails and private messages. It is a very scary time, but with all the love coming at me, it makes it not easy, but that much easier.

Now, I am sitting in a hotel room in the Czech Republic (where the orange curtains match the orange carpet, and seem to be made of the same fabric, and the shower runs orange making the bathtub look like a murder scene) and realizing I am at my last Under 26 European Championships. In two weeks, I turn 26. My brain has been overloaded with the two words "What next?".....Retire? Continue? Get a job? Keep it up for another four years? It is an amazing lifestyle, but for me it is a little different then other teams- No money, no acknowledgement from my nation, alone with no support. I am getting tired and my results are suffering- Time to make a change.

I am not sure what that is yet, but whatever it is, it will be an interesting future, and day by day, I am starting to look forward to it.

NORMA ammunition