February 8, 2010: I Didn’t Qualify for the Games

Los Angeles, California – Since my last blog I spent a week in Quebec, Canada, for the final race and my final chance at qualifying for the Games, and then a week devoid of snowboarding left alone with my thoughts. For the first time in a really long time I didn’t feel like writing (which is very uncharacteristic of me if you’ve been reading my past entries). I wasn’t sure what to say, and I couldn’t muster the courage or energy to put my feelings down in writing. Frankly all I wanted to do was crawl into bed.

The days going into my last race were great. I was riding well, confident, and with little fear, even on the steep stuff. I figured out the right line to take (round) and I felt fast and wasn’t blowing out of the course. The biggest change was my boots; Coach Mark noticed the springs in the back were too loose and when he tightened them it made a humongous difference. While I was happy with the now extra responsiveness of the equipment, part of me thought, “Could this have been hurting me all along?” On race day I took a round line just like what worked in training. But it wasn’t fast enough. I ended up 19th in my course, just three spots out of making a second run.

So I didn’t qualify. For the second time. I guess I can’t take two years off due to financial constraints and expect to come back and compete against people that not only did not take those two years off, but also have the money and emotional backing of their national federation. The Philippine Olympic Committee did say that they would support me, if I qualified for the Games. But what about all those years and all the money it took to get me to the point where I could qualify, and all the sacrifices in the process because I couldn’t afford to have the best equipment, the best trainers or the right food when I was going up against fully supported athletes that had a team of staff to cater to them? But that’s neither here nor there.

I believed I could do it. I prayed I could do it. I had the hope that I could do it. I worked to the bone that I could do it. But in the end it didn’t happen.

I’ll probably spend the rest of my life wondering why. I guess I just didn’t have it in me? But I know I did, with all my heart, deep down I knew I could do it. So how could I be so wrong? I know there are choices that I made within the process that I’ll regret. Everyone says it’s about the journey, not the destination, but for me this time around, it was about the destination. And I didn’t get there.

While I am grateful for the opportunity and the wonderful and continual support from everyone, it’s hard to describe the loss and pain. People say to me, ‘at least you tried for your dream,’ but I think your dream stops being a dream when you really work at it and devote your life to it. For me my dream became my existence, my purpose, and now where does that leave me. Very empty, and definitely unfulfilled.

My friend who also did not make the Games likened the loss to the death of your spouse. But I look at it as my spouse that not only cheated on me, but also drained our bank accounts, maxed out the credit cards and took off leaving me to pay the bills with a mountain of humiliation. I feel completely betrayed by snowboarding after everything I’ve put into it. Before I said it was the one thing that made me feel good, even after a day that it made me feel bad. But as of right now, I don’t ever want to snowboard again.

I’m not writing this to gain pity or for comforting words. I guess I’m writing it to be kind of a closure for me, an end to the story, a real end to the story and not the overinflated ‘I’m fine, I tried my best and I’m happy with that.’ Because it’s not the happy ending I was hoping for, and I feel I’ve let everyone down.

I do want to thank you for your support throughout all these years – financially, emotionally, mentally. My current emotional state does not ignore nor belittle that. You all are the team I wish I could have had on the road with me, cheering me on, and carrying me through the tough times. I couldn’t have done this without you, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Maybe as the feeling of failure dissipates, I will begin to realize and appreciate the journey. But for now I’m just trying to make it through each day.


15 Responses to “February 8, 2010: I Didn’t Qualify for the Games”

  1. 1 Pete February 9, 2010 at 2:45 am

    Sorry to hear that, but I don’t think there’s many people who have qualified for the 2010 Olympics who could have done so if they had to take 2 years off training and do it all solo without national team support.

    As someone who has mixed feelings about the Olympics in my city, your story was quite inspirational

    Don’t know if this is the right time for this quote, if not, maybe read it later, but hopefully it will provide a useful perspective

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
    Theodore Roosevelt, “Man in the Arena” Speech given April 23, 1910
    26th president of US (1858 – 1919)”


  2. 2 Thomas P. February 9, 2010 at 10:54 am

    I’m a Filipino living in the states, and I’ve been following your story since the Winter Olympics are coming up soon. I just want to say that even if you weren’t able to qualify, you didn’t let anyone down. Maybe us pinoys and pinays just aren’t meant for the snow. Whatever the reason is, don’t beat yourself up for not getting to the games. You gave it your all and that’s all anyone can ask for. I’m always going to be a fan of yours. I hope your successful in whatever you have planned for your future, best wishes and good luck.

  3. 3 Romski February 10, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    … i can’t believe i just heard about you 10 minutes ago. i was ready to scream, then i read your blog. it sucks. but whatever, you’ve done more than any other north american born filipino athlete has ever done. so, bravo to you lady, job well done.

  4. 4 CanadianMan February 11, 2010 at 12:16 am

    I am a Canadian man married to a Philippine woman and I will tell you that I love the Philippine people. I have learned that they have a certain spirit that cannot be extinguished by adversity…as individuals, and as a people. I had no idea someone was attempting to represent the Philippines in the winter olympics until about 20 minutes ago and I just wanted to say that I admire your courage and determination to represent your country. This has turned out not to be the year for someone to hold the Philippine flag at the Winter Olympics, but I have NO doubt that it is going to happen in the future. And I hope it is you I see holding that flag.
    Be proud of your accomplishments..I’m sure your parents take pride in you.
    Best Wishes and ‘don’t lose that spirit’.

  5. 5 Addie Bantug February 11, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Hi Eden,
    We have been following your journey as well. We always logged on to your Blogs for the updates. We even purchased our tickets for the Vancouver Olympic Snowboarding Events hoping to cheer you on. Well, were denied. Concentrate on those good memories. Write those failures in sand and chisel those good memories in stone.
    A good memory of your journey, make a hero out of you.

  6. 6 G February 12, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    I am watching the opening ceremonies and I was wondering if anyone from PI would actually be here. I decided to look it up and found out about you. Even though you didn’t make it, as a fellow Filipina girl who snowboards and also an NYU alumni, I’m proud to see you represent our people. AND I love that it’s a woman who’s representing the PI Snowboard team. Congratulations on all your accomplishments and continued success for the future!

  7. 7 Shana Aelony February 14, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    I found you seeking your sister today, and I am SO amazed and proud of what you have done! I realize that you are feeling the embittered sadness of having given your all and not getting the satisfaction of competing in the olympics. But you have GOT to know that your accomplishment in achieving internationally the highest level of competition is an Olympian achievement. When you come home, let me know and I’d love to take you for a cup of tea. Hats off Eden, your grace as a snowboarded on these clips is incredible. Great things lie ahead for certain for you in snowboarding, in your other careers, in your life. Peace, shana

  8. 8 Dwight February 15, 2010 at 11:37 am

    I know you’re not seeking words of comfort or asking for pity and this is your way of verbalizing your frustration. I salute you for your efforts. You have inspired me and countless others. Think of all the young Filipinos living in the US and abroad dreaming of representing our country! I know I want to! But I don’t know where to start with training, joining races, and like you said, financing such an effort. It’s a shame that our government rarely supports the development of budding athletes. I looked it up and there are at least three olympians in these Vancouver games who are either born to Filipino parents or born in the Philippines. We have the talent and we certainly have the drive, as you have so proudly shown. Good luck to you and if you could give me tips on how to get started with training and all that stuff I would appreciate it.

    Though you are disappointed, you did not disappoint the Filipinos!

  9. 9 Zach Stokes February 15, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    I’m really sorry things didn’t work out the way you wanted them to Eden. I can say unequivocally though, that those of us that have come to know you are very proud of you. You chased a dream in a way that not many people do, and that’s *really* something. I admire and salute you.

    Take a breather, get back up and chasing your dreams.


  10. 10 Jeff cheng February 16, 2010 at 11:29 am

    I think even grief. Although not necessarily a consolation I don’t believe you have let anybody down. Best wishes to you.

  11. 11 Jeff cheng February 16, 2010 at 11:39 am

    I think grief also has a time and place. And I don’t think you’ve let anyone down. Best wishes to you and for your future.

  12. 12 Eddy B February 16, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    I remember two episodes.
    One was on Hunter Mtn. when you saw a snowboarder zooming past you, catching some air. You wooted aloud thinking it was me, then laughed when I slowly came up behind you, asking if you knew that person.

    The other was on Killington. When you and I and someone else (Sammy? or Dave?) were on the chair and just before I got off the lift, I said, “Don’t worry, I won’t fall” right before I fell in front of the chair. You laughed hysterically.

    Maybe you hate snowboarding right now but I remember how much fun you had then. Whatever your plans for the future, remember the fun and enjoy the ride.

    Whenever you hit the East Coast, give me a ring. Its actually snowing out here for once.

  13. 13 spanky February 19, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Chin up girl! Your frustration only shows us your passion for the sport and to represent the country. And for that, we already salute you.

    I’m sorry the POC couldn’t give more support, but it is a bitter pill our athletes back home have to swallow (well except for ballers probably hehe)

    As Coco recently said, “Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”

    I’m sure they will. Or maybe they already have happened and you just need to wait for the dust to settle down to recognize these blessings.

    Proud of you! Mabuhay ka!

  14. 14 Raciel March 11, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    Having the courage to even pursue your dream and to represent the land of your parents is inspiration enough for other up-and-coming Filipina snowboarders.

    Keep your spirits up and here’s to seeing you at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi!

  15. 15 john smith October 18, 2013 at 11:40 am

    WATCH THE MOVIE: way of the silent warrior! ;

    Now you know that horse! Get up and ride it like you should!

    from Croatia with LOVE! ;

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