By Petra Vlhová, Alpine Skier, Current world champion and World Cup leader
This opinion piece was published in the international press on 4 February on the occasion of the One Year to Go mark to the opening of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
4 February marks one year to go. One year until the world’s best winter athletes come together. We have all been given 365 days, and it is upon us to decide how we are going to use them. For me, it will be a year of hard work, focus, belief and the quest for perfection, because what awaits in Beijing 2022 will need a lot of work to be put in so as to stand out from the rest.
The next 12 months mark a pivotal moment in my career. It’s once again time to have the chance to give it my all at the Olympic Games. Having tasted gold at the Winter Youth Olympic Games Innsbruck 2012, I gained experience at both the Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018 Games. Now, having learned what it takes to compete at the Olympics, I’m striving to perfect the finer details of my performance, day-to-day, with my incredible team. I hope to be ready for Beijing 2022. I believe that, in the next 365 days, I will be ready to chase my dream of Olympic success.
Today, however, marks an important milestone for all winter sports athletes. A moment that ignites hope, giving us the possibility of once again obtaining a goal that we can work towards. In the past months, we have had to take a step back. Our training has been affected, travel has become more difficult. Today, we are still not able to do what we love the most: perform in front of crowds and share emotions and energy with those who cheer for us.
Yet, while we’ve found it incredibly difficult, our complaints seem futile considering the sacrifices being made by frontline workers around the world. Battling day-in, day-out to get the world back on its feet. These people are the ones who deserve the cheers of the world.
Those cheers are coming from me as well. I’m eternally grateful that I’m once again able to work, train and compete with my incredible team and all the rest of the athletes. We have been given an opportunity not received by many others. With that in mind, we are all working towards being the best – motivated and driven even more, race to race, valuing every moment of this unusual season. I’m more convinced than ever that, whatever happens in the next year, the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 will see only the best performances the athletes can deliver. I will work my hardest to be a part of this celebration of sport.
Nothing would make me prouder than joining my fellow Olympians in marching into the Opening Ceremony in Beijing on 4 February 2022. Having seen the growing confidence around the Tokyo 2020 Games, we all feel grateful that Beijing 2022 will benefit from that experience. Beijing will certainly be another special moment for athletes and sports fans.
The Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 will hopefully mark another step towards the world’s recovery. Like everyone, I hope that 2021 will see a positive change in the current situation. Then, when Beijing 2022 begins, we can all enjoy the emotions of achievement, together. One year from now, the stage will be ready to witness the greatest winter sports athletes, and I will be working my hardest to be among them.