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Trial by Ice: Olympian Emily Azevedo speaks at Elon Law

Far from the typical attorneys and legal scholars that the Elon Law Leadership Fellows often welcome to speak at the law school, Olympic bobsledder Emily Azevedo proved that leadership comes in all forms. On March 13, Azevedo, a member of the Women’s Olympic Bobsled Team, spoke to students about the struggles and triumphs that led to her successful completion of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.

Olympian Emily Azevedo, second from left, with Elon Law students and Leadership Fellows, from left, Brenna Ragghianti, Julie Dogan and Daniel Watts.

“I think it was important for law students to hear her message because law school is a very competitive environment, as is training with top athletes at the Olympic Training Center,” said Julie Dogan, L’15, a Leadership Fellow and friend of Azevedo. “Emily is living proof that with hard work and determination any lofty goal can be a reality.”

Dogan met Azevedo in 2006 while trying out for the U.S. Women’s Bobsled National Team at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, New York. Leadership Fellows Brenna Ragghianti, L’14, and Daniel Watts, L’15, worked with Dogan to organize Azevedo’s presentation, “Trial By Ice.”

"Her message really resonated with me, especially when she talked about balancing ambition and camaraderie with her teammates in a highly competitive environment,” said Ragghianti.

Originally from Chico, California, Azevedo played sports throughout her childhood and college career, but never quite found her niche until discovering the exciting world of bobsled. Azevedo’s excitement quickly turned to frustration upon realizing the amount of money needed to fund the travel and training necessary for a successful bobsled career.

With no sponsors, Azevedo was planning to let go of her bobsled dream until her, then, 13-year-old sister offered to be her first sponsor with a $5 donation. With additional help from a fundraiser organized by her hometown, Azevedo was able to raise enough money to train and eventually make her way to the Olympic games.

“I learned a lot about myself that year trying to make the Olympic team,” Azevedo said. “ I learned that I really wanted it and had to find a way to dig deep. These goals that you are trying to accomplish are not just for you, it’s for the people supporting you.”

Dogan was recently featured in a NCBA video spotlight about her bobsledding experiences.

More information about the Leadership Fellows program at Elon University School of Law is available here.

By Courtney Roller L'13 

Philip Craft,
3/22/2013 12:19 PM