BANGOR - It's been a roller coaster career for Olympian and Augusta native Julia Clukey. After a 17th place finish in the Luge World Championships this past season, Julia announced she'd be returning for another year of competition. Julia stopped by the FOX-22 studios to catch up with our Brittany Devane, talking about a potential run for the 2018 Olympics, and her plans for a busy summer. Here are some Q&A excerpts from the interview.
What did you take away from one more season of competition?
This past year was really a transitional year for me. I transitioned to a new sled. It was something that needed to happen for me to move forward with the technology aspect of our sport. So it was a tedious process, there were some ups and downs with that, but I feel really good about where I ended the season.
You announced you'd be coming back next year. Still no word yet on South Korea, the 2018 Olympics. What is your body telling you?
You know my body right now is telling me that I'm more motivated than ever to stay on the sled, to keep fighting for the goals that I still have set for myself, things that i want to accomplish in the sport. I've only been off the sled for two weeks but I really can't wait to get back on it and pick up where I left off. I feel very strongly that I still have a lot of energy left in my tank and I'm willing to put in the work necessary to get back to the results that I want at the World Cup level. So, I'm kind of going to ride that and i would say I'm leaning that way [towards making a run at the 2018 Winter Games]."
You bring this message of positivity around to schools. You've been paired up with Maine Beer & Wine Distributors for the last couple years, what do you try to teach the kids when you go into schools and talk to them?
The first thing is that you have to try a lot of new things. Anytime you have the opportunity to try something new you should always say yes because you don't know what activities you're going to find that you enjoy and love. Finding things that you're passionate about make it easier to make healthy decisions for yourself. That's what we want all young Maine kids to do is make healthy, good decisions. From there, when you do find something that you love, you have to be willing to work hard and set goals for yourself to get to the next step. Lastly... overcoming obstacles and being ready for challenging times because no matter what, life throws you curveballs sometimes and you have to be prepared for those and you have to have a good support system in place and just be ready to work even harder when those challenging times come.
What can girls expect if they attend your summer camp?
It's a 10-day summer camp in Readfield, Maine. It's a day camp for girls grades 4 through 8. The whole focus of the camp is similar to my high school and middle school presentations. We talk about setting goals, we talk about overcoming obstacles. We talk about body image and stereotypes and how to not let those things define the choices we're making, not limiting yourself from going after activities that you love. So it's a really passionate project of mine. It's the fourth year of camp and we expect to be full.
How do you do it all? It sounds like you have so much on your plate. How do you keep it all straight?
I am very busy but I've always enjoyed being very busy. I love sliding and training but I also love my interaction with kids in the community, it's really important to me. Growing up in the state of Maine I feel like the community is a part of my success that I've had and I want to give back to the state the same way that I feel I have been given. Any opportunity that I have to meet with kids, to share my story with kids, it's hard for me to say no to those opportunities regardless of how busy it keeps me traveling around the state.