So, why did I retire at age 16, when my competitive climbing "career" seemed to be taking off?
As much as I loved climbing, I never had a vision of it being my "job" for the rest of my life. Instead, I always had dreams of going to college, maybe going to the Olympics, and eventually settling down someplace where I could be a leader and make a difference in my community. In order to chase those dreams, I accepted a pole vaulting scholarship to attend Florida State University. NCAA rules said that I could not be sponsored or get paid for participating in a sport (climbing) while competing on an athletic team for any university. So, I had to stop entering climbing competitions (because I won money) and cut ties with my sponsors, in order to pole vault at Florida State. I had to "retire" from climbing.
Why don't I go "back" to being a professional climber now that I have graduated from Florida State and am done pole vaulting?
When it looked like climbing might be in the Olympics, I did give that some serious thought. But, since climbing was recently cut from consideration for the Olympics, I don't feel that I have any "unfinished business" in climbing. I am happy with what I accomplished and don't want to give up my life in Steamboat to move to a different town to train (there is no gym here) and then spend a great deal of my life on the road for competitions. I would rather climb for fun with friends, cheer on the next generation of "Tori's" and continue to inspire people all over the world to chase their dreams, in whatever way I can.