By TMJ4 Staff. CREATED Jul 27, 2012
It was an emotional moment. Casey FitzRandolph and his family celebrating a speedskating gold..
Ten years later the international stage is gone and Casey has a new passion.
He and his family own 475 acres in two parts of Wisconsin. Part of it Casey bought with money from endorsements and speaking engagements.
"I didn't want to turn it into a great big mutual find or the biggest house in Madison," he says. "I wanted to turn it into dirt.
He and his family, now including wife Jen and two children, spent the spring planting 14,000 tiny trees. The idea? To build up a nature preserve.
It started partially as a way for the avid deer hunter to lure prey... He may still bag a buck.. but something has shifted in him.
"I sit in my tree stand with a camera and the bow hanging on the hook," he says.
They're also leasing part of the land at a lower cost to a corn farmer with the promise that the farmer treat the space well.
"I find it rewarding, deeply rewarding... that's the best way i can put it," says FitzRandolph.
Casey's dad, Jeff, is his biggest helper. A decade ago Jeff videotaped his son right after his gold medal winning time, now Jeff enjoys every precious second with Casey on the farm.
"He's not only my helper, he's my best friend," says Jeff.
Casey's other farmhand is son Sawyer. They love to enjoy nature together.
"I knew we'd buy land one day but this?" says Casey's wife Jen. "I never knew we'd wind up creating living space for animals and food plots."
Some athletes have a hard time transitioning out of the spotlight, Casey admits it hasn't been easy but with his family and this land he's in a peaceful place.
"I have everything i ever wanted. Life is what i hoped it would be."