GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - The numbers are all adding up for Mimi Wiencke. At age 24, she's the number one ranked female snowboard racer in the country. And, she is considered the front runner to qualify in the parallel slalom events at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.
"I don't think it's sunk in yet. I mean this is something I've worked for since I can remember," Wiencke said. "I do remember seeing the first snowboarding in the Olympics when I was 8 or 9 and I knew that's exactly what I wanted to do right away."
A full-time athlete, everything Mimi does is intended to get her one step closer to her goal. Born and raised in White Bear Lake, she spends summers training in Minnesota. And credits her upbringing here to her appreciation for winter sports.
"It's definitely prepared me for the cold weather and all the hours waiting for a race to start," Wiencke said
Behind every successful athlete is a source of support, both emotional and financial. For Mimi, her parents filled that role and then some.
"They've been completely supportive from the start, my mom especially." Wiencke said. "She's pretty much given up everything to support me. We took out a loan on the first house in White Bear Lake where I grew up to pay for snowboarding and eventually, that led to us having to sell the house and move to something more affordable just to pay for what I do."
The cost of paying for training, equipment, injuries and travel has taken its toll on the family. But they wouldn't have it any other way.
"I, as a parent, am very proud of her, said Wiencke's mother, Carol Robertshaw. "I snowboard, as does her father and we've competed as well. So we knew the risks and we knew that she would not take "no" for an answer."
It's that competitive spirit that's driving this young athlete towards the Road to Sochi.
"It takes a lifetime to build the focus. I don't think I would have been ready until this year," Wiencke said.