Editor's note: This is the last in a four-part series on women's singles luger Summer Britcher, the first York Countian to compete in the Winter Olympic Games.
The odds of becoming an Olympic athlete might be as low as finding actual statistics on such a thing.
A quick Google search doesn't bring up much. A website called ecollegefinder.org did a study on the topic in 2009, but only for the Summer Olympics. And, according to those numbers, the odds vary by sport.
The highest odds are in women's handball (1 in 40), while the lowest are in men's and women's basketball (1 in 45,000). So it's hard to say what odds Glen Rock native Summer Britcher faced seven years ago when she began her path to the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
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And it's hard to predict if Britcher will ever make it back to the Olympics again.
It's exactly why her dad, Bill, said he'll just "bite the bullet" on the associated expenses of going to Sochi with his wife and their three other children to watch Summer compete in women's luge.
"That's what we thought. We were contemplating all of us go or just the wife and I go. We're gonna bite the bullet and do without other stuff. The other stuff we'll put on a charge card and pay it back later," said Britcher, who works as a fire captain in the Baltimore City Fire Department.
Travel hassles: Like many other families of Olympians, the Britchers have already faced an adventure in lining up travel and lodging arrangements in Sochi. It began in December, when Bill Britcher drove to Washington, D.C., two days before Christmas to turn in his family's paperwork for visas, which he was still waiting on receiving when he chatted by phone from his Glen Rock home Jan. 17.
"There were some offers from tour companies which was just way beyond our price range. They were asking $4,000 to $5,000 a person once you got there. There's no way I could lay that kind of money out. So I found out they're actually bringing cruise ships into the ports of Adler and Sochi. We're gonna stay on a cruise ship in the port of Sochi."
Once there, the Britchers will take a train just about everywhere. The Olympic Village, where Summer will be staying, is about 30 miles south.
"From there to watch skiing and luge, it's another 30 miles up the mountain somewhere," Bill Britcher said.
There's also the matter of getting tickets to the events.
"All of the events, you need separate tickets. They don't have a full park pass," Britcher said. "We just finished getting squared away with those. We get two tickets to her (Summer's) event. All the others we have to buy. I'm not sure of the cost yet."
Security: Plus, there's the added concern about security given the December suicide bombings that killed 34 in the city of Volgograd, about 600 miles north of Sochi. According to various reports, more than 40,000 police and military personnel have been dispatched to the region.
And the U.S. military will have up to two warships and several transport aircraft on standby under a contingency plan to, if needed, help evacuate American officials and athletes from the Winter Olympics, according to a CNN report.
"The main thing is trying to stay low profile," Bill Britcher said. "Go over there and be a parent."
And enjoy watching their daughter compete, because who knows the odds of getting the opportunity to do so again?
"We went to the youth Olympics in 2012 in Austria (to watch Summer compete in a Junior World Cup race). Just being there, with the energy, the people, the show. It was an awesome experience." Britcher said. "I could watch it (the Olympics) on TV, but it's not the same as actually being there."
—Reach John Walk at email@example.com.