MODESTO — When you watch Kendall Wesenberg race, you can tell she’s a natural.
But the Olympian only realized her talent a few years ago.
“I’m definitely the new kid. I’m trying to pick it up as I go and just kind of winging it, but, yeah, it’s been quicker than most. Probably on the quicker side of things, but it’s been a process for sure,” Wesenberg said.
The process began after watching the 2010 Winter Olympics. The Central Catholic grad had been a star on the soccer field, so her athleticism was not in question when she considered skeleton.
“Literally she saw it and thought, this looks like fun. Looking for her next gig once she got out of Boulder and graduated college. She was like, ‘What do I want to do?'” her mom, Laurie Wesenberg, said.
Her rise to the top came quick as she won her first-ever race in 2014 before becoming the first American to win the European Cup in 2015. Now she’s set to be the first Winter Olympian from Modesto.
“I mean it’s huge. It’s crazy. Obviously it’s kind of what you set out to do if you get into this sport, but you just keep taking steps, try to trust the process. I don’t know when it will really hit me, but it’s been cool,” Kendall Wesenberg said.
Keeping cool is her specialty, especially when you are sledding head first at speeds that can reach 70 to 80 mph, like she did in a race over the weekend in Germany.
“It feels kind of like that, but then you are making so many decisions and processing so many things as you are going through these curves, registering where you are and how to get back to the best lines. It looks so different than it feels,” Kendall Wesenberg said.
The rise to the top of the skeleton world came fast, and now Wesenberg is out to prove she’s the best in the world in a sport she’s still learning.
“To have an Olympic athlete in the family, I think is just something that no one can take away. I think somebody said you have a better chance of being struck by lightning, and you know what the chances of being struck by lightning are? Almost impossible. So I’m just thrilled for her. Everyone is just excited for her,” her mom said.
Kendall Wesenberg and her teammates plan to be in South Korea at the end of the month, and you can catch her competition during the second week of the Winter Olympics.