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More Than An MS Advocate

Nicole Odell: More Than An MS Advocate Run Tri Mag How It All Started
Nicole ODell
Year started: 2006

In the realm of triathlon, athletes often seek inspiration and guidance to embark on their journey. Nicole Odell, a remarkable individual and coach, has overcome numerous hurdles and emerged as a beacon of hope for aspiring triathletes. Her story is one of determination, resilience, and the power of the human spirit. Let’s delve into how Nicole Odell’s incredible triathlon journey began and how she has become an advocate for those facing their own challenges.

The Early Days

Nicole’s journey into the world of triathlon started unexpectedly when she received a flyer in the mail from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, promoting a Team in Training program. Intrigued by the mention of Tae Kwon Do, she soon found herself captivated by the allure of triathlon. Living in Colorado Springs, she faced the obstacle of traveling to Denver but pressed on. Nicole’s unwavering determination led her to the Olympic Training Center, where her triathlon dreams started to take shape.

Overcoming Obstacles

One significant challenge Nicole had to tackle was fundraising. Undeterred, she sought out opportunities to raise funds for her endeavors, eventually racing in the 5430 Sprint in Boulder in 2006. Nicole’s tenacity was evident as she fearlessly participated in the triathlon despite having limited swimming experience. With a passion for running, even though she didn’t consider herself a runner, Nicole finished her first sprint triathlon and a new world was about to be discovered.

Building Expertise and Business

In 2008, Nicole’s dedication led her to become a coach for Team in Training, where she discovered her innate talent for guiding and inspiring others. Her coaching journey culminated in her earning a coaching certificate in 2009, solidifying her expertise. She ventured into starting her own coaching business, NEO Endurance, which quickly gained traction. In 2013, NEO Endurance became Nicole’s full-time pursuit, thanks to her engineering job being phased out. It was a significant turning point that allowed her to fully invest in her passion for coaching.

Triumph Amid Challenges

Nicole faced several personal and health-related challenges, including multiple hip surgeries from October 2013 to March 2014. A subsequent diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) came in May 2014. Despite these obstacles, she remained resilient, relying on coaching as a source of stability and fulfillment. Her background in engineering made the analytical aspect of coaching a comfortable fit, while her personal experiences enabled her to connect deeply with her athletes, fostering a unique bond.

Advocacy and Beyond

With her coaching career flourishing, Nicole expanded her reach beyond triathlon. In 2016, she began volunteering with the MS Society, an organization close to her heart due to her own diagnosis. This opportunity allowed her to combine her passion for coaching with her desire to make a positive impact. Nicole’s commitment to helping others led her to create Team 303 in 2015 and later establish Team NEO for Bike MS. Her pursuits extend further, as she works towards a Ph.D. in health promotion at NC State, aiming to develop policies that promote healthier societies.

A Life of Impact

Today, Nicole continues to coach both individuals and group rides while managing her health needs. Her MS diagnosis has provided her with a unique perspective, enabling her to better understand and support athletes with diverse needs. She cherishes the opportunity to guide athletes, particularly those facing chronic diseases, and strives to make a difference in their lives. Nicole’s advocacy for MS awareness underscores her commitment to raising awareness and supporting others in their journeys.

Nicole Odell: From Triathlete to Coach, Defying Boundaries Every Step of the Way

Nicole Odell’s story showcases the transformative power of triathlon and the spirit of an individual determined to overcome barriers. From her humble beginnings as a “band geek” to her triumphs as a coach and advocate, Nicole’s journey serves as an inspiration for athletes embarking on their own triathlon endeavors. Through her coaching and advocacy, she leaves a mark on the triathlon community, demonstrating that resilience and determination can conquer any obstacle.