"I go head-first," laughs Katie Uhlaender in her introduction – a phrase that likely speaks just as much to her attitude about tackling the ups and downs of life as it does to her sport of skeleton (skeleton racing involves plummeting head-first down a steep and treacherous ice track on a tiny sled).
Katie, a 3-time U.S. Olympian, World Champion and World Cup Champion in the sport of skeleton had big shoes to fill. Katie talks fondly of learning about competition, teamwork and sportsmanship early in life from her father Ted Uhlaender, a professional Major League Baseball Outfielder and coach. At age 19, Katie began competing in skeleton. And while her success hasn't come easy – between the loss of her father and the loss of her best friend, and dealing with debilitating injuries –Katie's accomplishments are likely due in part to her hard work, determination and tremendously positive outlook on life.
"The journey is my blessing," states Katie. "I'm working to be the best version of me to honor my father, my best friend and my country."
While her mind is focused on preparing to compete for Team USA at her 4th Olympic Winter Games, Katie shared her heart for agriculture with us. She spoke of her love of going home to the family ranch in Kansas where she raises cattle and grows corn, wheat and pinto beans.
"I took over a lot of the responsibilities [on the farm] when my father passed away – that's when I fell in love with it. It’s fun to see how hard work produces things."
Katie believes that it's important to continually educate consumers on nutrition and how food is produced, and wants people to know what it takes, and how much effort goes in to caring for the animals.
When asked what her favorite dairy products are, Katie shared her love of cream in her morning coffee, and milk at night with her shake.
"Oh, and cheese. I love cheese," she exclaimed.
Katie's recommendation for young athletes is to "Focus on the process and on improvement every day, and not on the results…The results aren't in our control." She finished by saying "Have faith in your preparation. Put your best self forward every time."
We are proud to partner with Katie and support Milk Life’s sponsorship of Team USA. As the Olympic Winter Games 2018 draw nearer, Milk Life, Dairy MAX, and dairy farm families wish Katie Uhlaender all the success! We’ll be cheering you on.
Check out Katie's visit with Mary Kraft at her dairy farm!