Allow myself to introduce…myself. For those of you who don’t already know me, my name is Annelies Ormel Providence Cook. The Ormel part represents my Dutch family on my mother’s side. The Providence part comes from when I was a dorky teenager and was jealous that all my other siblings middle names referred to where they were born or conceived. Well, I was born in Providence, Rhode Island a month early when my parents were on vacation. As the story goes, my mother’s water broke when she stopped on the side of the road to pee and I was first breast fed by a hysterical mother inside a McDonalds using milkshake as temptation.
Growing up, I was lucky enough to have two best friends who didn’t think it was nerdy to go for runs after school and enjoyed making forts in the woods. My parents were the type who would go everywhere with a car packed ridiculously full of bikes, hiking boots and poles, and kayaks. I still look forward to the day when we go to a family reunion without making such a scene with all the crap we drag with us. Even this last reunion, we fought over which types of bikes to bring.
I also got a taste for travel at a fairly young age because my mother is from the Netherlands. She didn’t mean to get stuck in the U.S and clings tightly to her heritage. She was never able to accept that she lived in the U.S. and had American children and for that I am thankful. (She only just got her U.S. citizenship this summer and I am pretty sure she had her fingers crossed when she made her vows) Starting when I was in elementary school, my sister and I would spend about a month in Dutch elementary school and living in my mothers’ childhood home. My sister, would refuse to speak Dutch and got all of her classmates speaking English. I was more of a do-gooder and happily switched over. I still enjoy learning and speaking different languages.
When I was in middles school, my parents lucked out and had the fortunate timing of getting the best kid watching service ever. The next -door neighbor that my father taught to ski in our backyard graduated from college and started Nordic coaching with his close friend. I was part of the “younger kids” group, which consisted of five hyper girls and one guy, who I am pretty sure “dated” all of us during those tremulous teenage years. We all looked up to the “older kids” who were so fast and cool and I just wanted to be like them.
These three factors came into play when I was fifteen and decided to try biathlon out. Now, biathlon is a pretty obscure and weird sport but I just so happened to grow up in the land of “I think the 1980’s Winter Olympics is still happening”. How could I not get the fever? I was fast enough to get my first taste of racing internationally and from then on I have been hooked.
Pretty much every decision in my life has been based on skiing and how I could do it. I am actually pretty scared of what life will be like when I don’t have skiing to help me make my decisions. I’m sure I will figure it out. I did biathlon fulltime until I was 21 and then I felt like I wanted to be normal and go to college. The University of Utah let me in and I reveled in my years as just a cross-country skier. It felt great to classic ski. But after I graduated I came back to biathlon and now I am pursuing this full-time professional hobby once again.
This blog is something that I don’t feel particularly comfortable doing, but my dad said he would read it and I thought I might as well. Plus, when you are an athlete on the road waiting to race, there is a lot more time than you can imagine to become bored. At home, my creative outlets are fed easily, but as I can’t bring my paints with me everywhere, I thought maybe I could experiment with writing. I am not sure what kind of blog this is going to be, so bear with me as I find my “voice”.
– Annelies Ormel Providence Cook, Dutch-American, Graduate of University of Utah, U.S Biathlete.