Food: Anything with goat cheese. I basically see any other food as a vehicle for goat cheese. Let’s just say I’ve never had any that I didn’t like.
Quiet Place: The porch at my parent’s house in Remsen, NY—preferably in a hammock or on a yoga mat. The porch faces my parents’ back yard, the horse fields and the woods, so you’re surrounded by the sounds of birds and other outdoorsy things. All peaceful noises, so it’s extremely relaxing.
Book: I’m a huge fan of the Hunger Games books. I read all of them one year when I was home for Christmas. After my dad read the books, he started calling me Katniss. BTW, I started wearing my hair in a braid long before the books came out… Bossypants by Tina Fey is a very close second.
Quote: “We will never know our full potential unless we push ourselves.” It’s something I saw in 2011 at the very beginning of Travis Rice’s movie called The Art of Flight. It resonated with me and I keep it written in my journal.
Charity: I’ve really enjoyed working with a local program called STARS (Success Through Adaptive Recreation and Sports) in New Hartford, NY. I’ve participated in their Celebrity Classic Wheelchair Basketball Game for six or seven years. It’s a great event that involves media figures, politicians and athletes from the community, and it sells out every year. I’ve also been involved with Classroom Champions, which connects students in underserved schools with Olympians, who act as mentors.
Holiday: Christmas! Because we are on the road all winter, Christmas has extra appeal because we get to go home for a quick break! I spend every Christmas Eve at my grandpa and grandma’s with all of my relatives (17 grandkids and lots of cousins!). It’s chaotic and everyone eats way too much (my aunt’s chicken wing dip is to die for), but it’s family and I love it.
Thing to do with friends: Play games. My teammates and I play a lot of cards and Catch Phrase! on the road. We started playing Blackjack in Russia for 10 Rubles a hand. That’s only about 22 cents, but with Olympians, everything turns into a massive competition.
Thing to do with family: One family tradition is the Remsen Barn Festival of the Arts. For a couple of days every fall, the town is transformed by vendors from all over – arts, crafts, music and food. My grandparents’ house is right on the main street, so during the festival we put a tent in their driveway, hang out and cook food.
Thing to conquer boredom: Reading, writing in my journal and crocheting. One of my teammates, Emily Sweeney, and I created the brand Emrin (Emily + Erin) to sell crocheted headwear. I love crocheting because it’s fun, it kills time and it’s easy to do.
Thing to collect: Piggy Banks and corks. I have different piggy banks for different currencies (although many may be mixed up now…oops) and I plan to use the corks for a cool project someday.
Career Moment: It’s a close call. In 2009, I won the World Championships on my home track in Lake Placid, beat the Germans for the first time in way too long, and set the track record in the process. This past winter I won the Bronze Medal at the Olympic Games in Sochi. It was pretty surreal – I hadn’t been on the podium for a while and my last Olympic performance wasn’t exactly great, so there was nothing to lose. I wasn’t nervous at all (actually the medal ceremony was much more nerve-wracking). I was just having fun and everything came together.