Tallmadge -- As Annie Rogers blew the candles out on her birthday cake for her 22nd birthday on June 9, one has to wonder what the next year has in store for her.

Annie is living proof that dreams do come true, but the most refreshing thing about her story is that despite all the TV appearances, radio interviews, and newspaper articles, she is still the same Annie that her family and friends have always known.

On Valentine's Day, Annie entered a Twitter contest to win a date with Olympic Bronze Medalist Freestyle Skier Nick Goepper that he launched after the Winter Games in Sochi.

Out of thousands of entries, Nick picked her. Her video now has 47,642 views on YouTube.

Nick had a jam-packed itinerary planned for their first date and treated Annie to a trip of a lifetime in New York City in early April.

However, their story didn't end there. They made plans to meet again when he was in Ohio, and they did. On June 3, Annie and Nick gathered up their friends and headed to Cedar Point.

"It was great," Nick said on June 5. "All the Olympic hype had died down a lot, and it was nice to hang out with Annie and our friends. We were just able to enjoy each other's company. There was no pressure."

Nick said the date in New York with Annie was fun but there was a lot of pressure and hype built up on it from him just competing in Sochi.

In Sandusky, he wound up waiting three hours to ride the Millennium Force, but he didn't mind because he was enjoying the company of his friends.

"It was a normal day at a theme park with all your friends, standing in line for hours for one ride, it was very normal and fun," he said.

Annie said it was nice to just be able to hang out without schedules and that seeing Nick again was like seeing an old friend.

"There were no nerves or mystery of how we were going to get a long," she said. "Our friends got along great. It was really relaxing and it was a lot less pressure. I think we had a great time. It was just as much fun as Nick and I had alone in New York, if not more."

The short excursion in Sandusky brought Annie's and Nick's lives together a little more, she said.

"We are not in a relationship or exclusively dating," she said. "But we are definitely going to stay in touch and hopefully we can meet up whenever we get the chance for a long time to come."

Nick said that he and Annie have established a nice friendship.

"She got to know Nick and not the Olympian and I got to know Annie, the real person, not Annie from YouTube," he said. "We still talk every now and then. I am really inspired by what she is doing with school -- she's planning on going to grad school -- she's really on a cool career path."

Annie admitted in an interview on June 5 that it was hard to buckle down and hit the books again after her weekend trip with Nick in New York City. But she found a way to buckle down and earned a 3.6 gpa for the semester.

"Things got pretty crazy after the contest and building up to New York," Annie said. "But I got home and things calmed down pretty quick and I finished out the semester like any other student at Kent State. I had to compartmentalize things and put the contest and everything that went with it out of my mind for a little bit."

Annie said she doesn't see herself differently.

"Nick is great, but he is just Nick," she said. "Especially seeing how his friends act around him, he's a 20-year-old guy who just loves to goof off and have a good time."

Nick felt the same way about Annie.

"She's very down to earth," he said. "She doesn't treat me any differently than the way that I want to be treated."

Nick said he finds Annie to be accomplished and friendly.

"She's very easy to talk to," he said. "It was just nice to hang out with someone who is normal. Whenever I'm in Ohio I am going to try and meet up with her. It's awesome to meet such a cool girl from Tallmadge, Ohio."

It has been said friendships can withstand pretty much anything. Nick, Annie and their group of friends are an example of the true meaning of friendship.

Nick said he will always remember his first trip to Cedar Point.

"I will look back at it as a memory to cherish for a long time," he said. "Those are moments you live for."

Contact reporter Heather Beyer at 330-541-9432 or hbeyer@recordpub.com

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