In a campsite of the Mennonites (a Christian denomination) in the Colorado Mountains, I had an amazing experience – through people who I had never met before.


A scenic view from our cabin – it touched my soul.


The camp chief’s family and us.
The first experience that touched my heart was with the camp chief who invited me for a private conversation in his office. There he said that it was nice to see how I had involved my family in the training camp before the Olympics. He had a specific proposal – they wanted to support my family by offering us free bed and food in their campsite. That is exactly what happened, we lived there for seven days for free.
At times there were approximately 200 people at the campsite who showed great interest towards me as an Olympic athlete. Several times I got to tell my story and give autographs. The camp chief even ordered fan shirts that all the camp members will be wearing during the Olympic marathon.
Another experience that touched my soul was with people from Texas who also stayed at the campsite. During the short period we had several nice conversations. Upon leaving they gave me a modern GPS watch. Inadvertently, I started to think about what would happen if I didn’t impress them at the Olympics. However, every now and then I am reminded of the words that were said to me when giving the gift: you have a nice family and enjoy the competition.