The countdown is on. It is only 15 days until the start of the Winter Olympics. The U.S. Olympic Speedskating team will have strong Wisconsin connections. This includes a trainer who is seeing a 13 year dream come true in Beijing.
Julie Carpenter is a Waukesha South grad and says part of her role in Beijing is to try and pick the athletes up, when or if they're having a down moment.
"I wish I could describe it better. But it was surreal. Almost unbelievable," U.S. Speedskating trainer Carpenter says. "I didn't think I could really ever have the opportunity to take them to that place."
U.S. Speedskating is making Carpenter's dreams come true, sending the trainer and Waukesha native to the Olympic Games for the first time. Without parents or fans there, her role will likely expand to overseer and counselor.
"I've talked to some of the families of the athletes I've worked with for years and all they keep saying is we're so glad that they have you," Carpenter says. "We're so glad that if we can't be there, you get to be there with them.There's not words in my vocabulary to be able to explain how incredibly touching that is to hear from a family."
With a Favre and a LeRoy Butler book on the shelf behind her, Carpenter is a Wisconsin sports fan through and through, and hoping for the Packers and the Olympics to be winners together next month.
"That would be the ultimate goal for 2022. Go Pack," Carpenter laughs. "We need some Olympic hardware to come home on these athletes necks. I could call it a year right there. I'd be happy."
Working for Froedert and the Medical College of Wisconsin in conjunction with NX Level, Carpenter is grateful to serve on the world stage.
"I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity that Froedert is giving me to be away from my typical job to be able to travel with these athletes," Carpenter says. "They've been very gracious in allowing me to travel to World Cups in the past with them overseas. Then to be able to take this amount of time away from the clinic and away from patients in order to fulfill, you know requests from U.S. Speedskating, but also a dream of mine."