“You’ve got two years. Good luck.”
That, in a nutshell, was what ESPN editors had told Kathryn Bertine ’97 when she accepted an assignment to spend two full years trying to qualify for the Summer Olympics in Beijing.
It was completely left to her to decide where to go and what to pursue during the quest that took her around the world and into many, many athletics venues from 2006-2008.
Bertine wrote about her trials and tribulations for ESPN.com, and then authored a book — As Good As Gold: 1 Woman, 8 Sports, 10 Countries, and a 2-Year Quest to Make the Summer Olympics — which is a thoughtful, amusing, and, ultimately, inspiring reflection on her journey.
She discusses her experiences as an author and athlete in the latest episode of Colgate Conversations, a podcast series that highlights members of the university community. (You can watch the full interview by clicking the video below or by going to the Colgate Conversations page or Colgate’s iTunes U page.)
Bertine says relationships forged during her time at Colgate have proved invaluable.
She credits professors such as Margaret Maurer, Peter Balakian, Coleman Brown, and Fred Busch for giving her confidence in her writing skills, while citing the discipline she learned as a student-athlete, having spent four years as a member of the rowing team while keeping up her skills as a figure skater.
After graduation she skated professionally with the Ice Capades, an experience she documents in her first book, All the Sundays Yet to Come: A Skater’s Journey.
Bertine’s writing also has appeared in numerous publications such as ESPN The Magazine, US Weekly, Her Sports + Fitness, and Inside Triathlon.
While earning a master’s in creative writing at the University of Arizona, Bertine discovered triathlon and pursued it professionally.
That was one of the sports she competed in as she tried to qualify for the Beijing Olympics. The others were modern pentathlon, team handball, cycling, rowing, open water swimming, race-walking, and luge.
Although that intense two-year indoctrination into the world of Olympic competition is over, Bertine is far from done.
She currently is on another quest — earning a spot in the 2012 Olympics in London as a cyclist.
Bertine acquired dual citizenship with the Caribbean nation of St. Kitts and Nevis, and is working on building a cycling federation there that will support potential Olympians for years to come.
She has been competing in world championship races, and she hopes to earn the right to represent St. Kitts and Nevis in London.
“I’ll give it all I have and we’ll see where it goes.”