Some may call me crazy...

And there is no question that ski jumping seems crazy. After all, it's people throwing themselves into the air in an effort to land the farthest. When I tell people I'm a ski jumper, they typically respond that I'm crazy. When I was a teenager, I'd say, "No I'm not!" and then deliver a ten minute speech about how safe and rational the sport actually is. This usually resulted in the individual thinking I am even more insane for my logic. Over the years I have retired my lecture and now, I simply say "Thank you!"

Crazy is defined as "Mentally deranged, extremely annoyed or angry, foolish" or "extremely enthusiastic." The latter describes me, as well as the rest of my ski jumping family, and my opportunity to be enthusiastic, passionate and dedicated to ski jumping is a gift. I don't have to work a 9 to 5 job (most of the time), and since I am not someone who thrives in the typical academic structure, I am pursuing a different type of education. I speak Swedish now. My political beliefs and opinions are shaped by real people I've met around the globe. I have experienced numerous cultures, from Norway to Japan, firsthand.

I am lucky to live my passion and my dream. I travel to foreign lands, stay in hotels, sample new foods, and meet incredible people, all while doing what I love. It's far beyond what I ever dreamed of as a little girl. It may sound like things are always easy but as with all jobs, there are bad days. Days I wish I could curl up in bed and stay there. Days I wish I hadn't messed up my jumping technique during the competition. Days I wish I wasn't sick or injured.

I believe it's these days, though, that make an athlete. Handling these days with grace, poise and professionalism is where a ski jumper learns lessons that serve them for years, even after their skis are gathering dust.

I take pride in never giving up...

I live for performances that reach my full potential, when my hard work is evident and when I make myself, my coach, and my country proud by flying to the bottom of the hills. However, I also take pride in never giving up, in never taking opportunities for granted and always doing the best I can.

This winter, I had a cold that turned into bronchitis. My asthma, which I've had since I was born because of severe complications at birth, reared its ugly head. Despite a qualifying competition for World Cup, no one would have faulted me for staying in bed. After visiting the doctor, I was instructed to rest for a day. I listened but was back at it the next because like most ski jumpers, I needed to try. I knew my performance wouldn't be my best, but despite the circumstances, I gave it all that I could. Out of three, I executed one amazing jump which demonstrated my talent as competitive with the top 10 in the world. I didn't qualify but I still had one outstanding jump.

On those days, it isn't about winning but about the opportunity because I am crazy, I am passionate and because I love to ski jump.

Where I come from, you wake up every day to do your best. Some days, you need to make adjustments and your best may not be pretty, glamorous or impressive. Despite obstacles, my goal is to always be proud of my hard work and pursue any opportunity with all that I have. So even when I wake up sick, I jump. On those days, it isn't about winning but about the opportunity because I am crazy, I am passionate and because I love to ski jump.

Related Content