University of Colorado women's Nordic skier Petra Hyncicova arrived in PyeongChang last Saturday, joining her Czech Republic Olympic teammates to begin training in advance of the 2018 Winter Olympics.
For the CU senior and two-time NCAA champion, competing in the Olympics fulfills a life-long dream and so much more. All the hours of training to become a world class athlete, all of the travel, and in Hyncicova's case as a student-athlete, a balancing act between school and sport.
She also takes great pride in being able to represent her country.
"Here studying in the U.S. is a really cool experience, but I still feel fully Czech and I'm really proud that I was called and get to represent the Czech Republic," Hyncicova said. "I would do everything for the Czech, so it just means a lot for me."
Living in Boulder and attending CU, there is an eight-hour time difference between her hometown of Liberec, Czech Republic, which made for a laughable memory in how she got the call that she was selected to the Olympic team.
"When they got the news it was during the night here and I usually have my cell phone off," Hyncicova explained of how her Czech coaches had to call her parents because they could not get in touch with her.
"I woke up and I had 10 missed calls and so many messages saying congratulations and I didn't know what for because I don't have a birthday in January. But then I find out that I am actually going to the Olympics, so I was just really surprised and it was the best morning call that I've ever had."
As it stood when Hyncicova had departed for PyeongChang, she was scheduled to compete in three cross country skiing races (PyeongChang is 16 hours ahead of Mountain time in the United States):
• Saturday — Ladies' 15K Skiathlon (combines 7.5K of both disciplines into one race, starting at 12:15 a.m. MT)
• Tuesday— Ladies Sprint Classic (qualification heats start at 1:30 a.m. MT)
• Sunday, Feb. 25 — Ladies' 30K Mass Start Classic (actually will start at 11:15 p.m. MT on Saturday, Feb. 24 in the U.S.)