West Bend's Courtney Rummel officially named to U.S Olympic snowboard team
WEST BEND, Wis. (CBS 58) -- It has been a busy few months for West Bend's Courtney Rummel.
After turning 18 in November, she went on to have a strong showing at the Dew Tour event at Copper Mountain, Colorado, in December, solidifying herself as a strong contender to make the U.S. Women's Snowboarding Olympic team.
That success was followed by an invite to Aspen, Colorado, this last weekend as an alternate for the X Games. Now, after years of hard work and dedication, the teenager can say that she will be an Olympian.
"Honestly, it is a lot of weight off my shoulders," Courtney said, talking about being named to the team on Jan. 21. "I'm still definitely, really nervous for the Olympics because it's like the Olympics!"
Rummel will compete in the women's slopestyle and big air snowboarding competitions.
The slopestyle event gives riders the opportunity to hit a variety of rails and jumps, performing tricks to earn a score from the judges. Big air is one jump where riders throw their best trick for a score. Rummel has high hopes for her first Olympic appearance.
"A success for me would be making finals," Rummel explained. Podium, even better. I honestly just want to make finals so I can say, still, I made finals at the Olympics."
The recent high school graduate and West Bend native will fly to Los Angeles on Tuesday before flying out to Beijing on Thursday for her three-week Olympic journey. Back home, she has a big support group behind her, acknowledging that even the local Dairy Queen put up a sign supporting the hometown's Olympian.
Her number one fans, however, would have to be her parents.
"I don't know that I can fully explain it to you because I don't know that it's completely hit us yet," explained Courtney's mom, Kim Rummel, when asked about what it means to be sending her daughter to the Olympics. "I think that it's always been an idea that's been out there. This is the goal we're working toward. When it actually happened, it is so completely surreal. There were so many happy tears on everyone's end."
As proud parents, Kim and her husband, John, try to make it to every competition possible. They won't, however, be able to physically be in Beijing. That doesn't mean their support will be left at home.
"It's actually really hard for her because we do travel to every competition. I collected letters from people in the community that mean a lot to her; her aunts and uncles, grandparents, a former teacher that she absolutely loves, coaches that she's had before. Everyone wrote her a letter of support," Kim said. "Her dad and I wrote her, and her brother of course, wrote her cards. I wrote her a card for every single day that she's out there to open and inside every card were meaningful pictures of her family, friends that she loves from home, just anything I could think of that would be impactful to let her know we're with her while she is there."
A supportive family and community ready to send off their Olympian to tackle her biggest mountain yet.
"It's insane. I love it," Courtney said. "I love how everyone is supporting me."
As for mom, she just hopes she enjoys the experience.
"I hope she's able to take it all in," Kim said. "Her accomplishments at 18; I sometimes think she just doesn't understand the enormity of everything she's accomplished at such a young age."
Learn more about Courtney Rummel and her journey to the Olympics here.