Jimmy Kimmel. Me. Wolf.

I trained 11 years to be an Olympian. I've been a national champ even a world champ yet the thing people remember most was this small prank I pulled with Jimmy Kimmel when I was at the Olympics. If you have no idea what I am talking about, you should watch this first:

OK THIS DIDN'T ACTUALLY HAPPEN. This was filmed in LA on a fake set but the news thought it was real. There's a video that shows the after math of this, I'll show you that in a. sec. Little did I know this video would go on to get 5 million views and put my Olympic legacy in jeopardy.


Side note: This is honestly what people ask me about the most. I always avoid the subject but figured it was time to actually talk about it.


HOW IT HAPPENED


I grew up in Los Angeles and Jimmy's studio in only 15 minutes away from where I grew up. Naturally there was some connection to producers on the show and one way or another they got my email. When I read the proposition I immediately thought, "oh this is something I would totally do, these people are genius." They needed me to take pictures of my hallway and text it to them. They were going to replicate the photos in their LA studio, there were a few things that were different but it was spot on for the most part. In a few days they were going to post this video to my Twitter and we decided we weren't going to break the news for 48 hours. I was told to not take any interviews during that time.


{BACKGROUND YOU SHOULD KNOW}


Apparently there was a lot of news about how there were so many stray dogs and weird animals in Russia. In the athlete village they don't really show any news so I had no idea what was on tv back in states. This was a popular news story so that is why Jimmy chose to capitalize on it with a wolf. I thought it was ridiculous but it sounded funny and WHY NOT.


The video was posted and my email immediately blew up. There were interview requests from USA Today, The AP, Today Show, Huffington Post and some others I don't remember. I got texts from random numbers I did not know asking about it. I had to shut my phone off. My teammates did not really say anything, they knew it was a joke and they more or less rolled their eyes at me. I took it in stride but I had no idea the pot I had stirred.


SHIZ REALLY HIT THE FAN when I saw security guards running around thinking there was a security breach. I heard athletes in the hallways talking about it and I felt like maybe it was not such a good idea to get involved. I was way stressed and texted the producers saying that things were not going so hot on my end. Apparently back in the states dozens of news stations picked it up and it got too big. They had to break the news before the Olympic Village went on lock down.


We had to come out and say it was a joke within 24 hours because the beast grew too fast. Here is what happened:


WHAT PEOPLE DON'T KNOW

  • I had emails from reporters saying they felt betrayed by me and they were never going to cover luge again.

  • My coaches yelled at me and insisted to not take the interview with Jimmy.

  • I was told I would not be able to walk in closing ceremonies.

  • I almost got sent home.

  • People threw so much shade online saying I was trying to get famous.

Honestly everything backfired and I received so much backlash. I emailed the producers and said I need help on my end to cover this up. They felt bad but they also mentioned what a hit it was back home. I glad someone somewhere was having a good laugh out of this. After a few days it died down and I was able slip under the radar and walk in closing ceremonies.


My teammates and I headed to Spain to go travel after the games. One day, I got a random email from Jimmy. He explained how bad he felt that it went so bad on my end. He felt so bad he ended up calling in a favor got us reservations to the highest of high end restaurants in Madrid. He gave us a name and a time and said to where our nicest clothes. We took a taxi was down some dark alley and there was not even a sign for the restaurant just a guy name Sergio standing outside. I told him my name and he opened this secret door to what ended up being a 10 course meal where the chef came out every time and told us what he had made. We were stunned, I have never had a dining experience quit like that. Truly something I will never forget.


I finally met him in person 2 years later when I worked at Dodger Stadium. My co workers asked how I knew him personally and I just told them it was a long story.


WHAT I LEARNED

  • What's not funny now will be VERY funny later

  • Jimmy is nice

  • Don't apologize for things you aren't sorry for

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