Katerina Nash on her Olympic Appearances
“You REALLY need to get Katerina on the team... even though she is a skier”.
This is what the CLIF Pro staff heard back in 2001 when the team was forming. Many knew that the young Czech athlete had competed in two winter Olympics in XC ski racing.
But the mountain biking community had also heard of Katerina – she raced the first Olympic XC mountain bike event in Atlanta in 1996, and then pedaled to 12###sup/sup### at the 2001 Vail Mountain Bike World Championships.
The team realized that not only was Katerina exceptional by competing in both summer and winter Olympics in different sports, but she had already competed in three Olympic Games by the age of 17!
Fast forward to 2017 and Nash is still racing for the Clif Pro Team, proving time and again that she is one of the world’s most versatile athletes.
You’ve competed in the Olympics five times, twice as a skier and three times as a mountain biker...can you tell us a little about each one?
“I was 18 and a full time ski racer. I decided to try to qualify for the Czech mountain bike team even though I was only competing for about three years on my bike and only riding in the summer. It worked out and it was an amazing and completely overwhelming experience. I continued with full time ski racing after Atlanta.”
“I was still very young but already benefitting from one Olympic experience. I had several good races while facing some challenging Japanese winter conditions. Biggest highlight was watching Czech-Russia gold medal hockey game right in the stadium.”
Salt Lake City 2002
“I was attending University of Nevada Reno working on my business degree and racing NCAA events. Summer leading up to the games I decided to try to qualify. I had to take all my fall finals early on to get to Europe before Christmas and catch the remaining qualifying events. I had a good showing at the games and went straight to NCAA championship in Alaska to complete my eligible racing years in college. Right after the games I joined the Luna Pro Team for their very first team camp and signed my first contract.”
London 2012 and Rio 2016, Rio
“After missing out on Beijing due to injury I was too fired up about London. I had a great lead up to the games finishing third overall in the World Cup that year. I did everything right and put in so much training and focus. Unfortunately the day of the race was just a bad one and I walked away extremely disappointed and convinced that I would never put myself through another Olympics again. I just wanted to race my bike on the highest level but not really focus on 4-year cycle ever again. That lasted until the spring of 2016 when I convincingly made the Czech Olympic team without even trying. I mean I still trained hard and wanted to do my best at World Champs but didn’t have the Olympics on my mind. At Rio I stayed calm and crossing the finish line I was really happy about the effort, I even led the race for a bit! I didn’t care about the result. I just wanted to be happy crossing the line, and I accomplished that and added a great result as well, placing fifth. That was the best Olympic experience of them all.”
Why both skiing and cycling?
“I started with skiing but cycling was always part of summer training. I loved exploring places on my bike and as soon as I got on mountain bike my world changed. I also did gymnastics, which I credit to good balance and a starting point for any sport. I grew tired of the indoor strict environment of gymnastics and moved on to skiing, track and field, and running.”