“What keeps you coming back for more?”
I think it’s a combination of factors. I can’t deny that the adrenaline rush of the sport definitely helps, but underneath it all I think I keep coming back because of the team camaraderie, the mental and physical challenges of the sport, and the uniqueness of the sport. I've always felt that bobsled was a big part of my life’s mission and honestly the sport is like an old friend who has helped me through some of the toughest periods in my life. Although I “retired” in 2010, I knew I wouldn't be able to stay away. Hence, I’m back on the ice in 2013. Some retirement!
“What's your motivation behind your success?”
Surprisingly a lot of motivation has come from pain and insecurities. Some aspects of my life growing up were not that pleasant, so bobsled and the dream of the Olympics and the desire to make a difference in the world was my way of dealing with those pains and hurts. When I worried I wasn't going to measure up to this mythical standard of perfection I created for myself, I threw myself into projects or bobsled or speaking or charity work. We so often try to avoid pain, but sometimes our deepest wounds are what bring the greatest healing. I wanted to succeed so that I could create a powerful, light-filled life that would help brings others out of their own darkness.
“On days when you're just not feeling it, what pushes you to get yourself to the track?”
Since I have been sliding for over thirteen years now I have had plenty of days like this. I think what pushes me to get to the track when I’m feeling sick or discouraged or down is that I hate leaving something half-finished. Excuses are easy to make, but efforts take work and they are the only things that bring results. So there’s that, plus I feel like my commitments to my teammates and my coaches need to be honored, so no matter what I’m feeling I always try to show up ready to work and win.
“How is prepping for a run similar to how u prep for life?”
Prepping for a run down the track is all about that: preparation. We walk the track beforehand with coaches to study the ice and refresh our mind as to what we will do in each turn. Then we get the sled ready for the training session or race. A big part for me is the visualization. I find a quiet spot to stand or sit and just drive the track in my mind, imagining every turn, every straight, every pressure and movement. From top to bottom, I drive the track perfectly in my mind, exactly how I want to do in reality.
I would say that yes, this habit has helped me prep for life because each of us is walking our own path, our own “track” if you will. We all have coaches who are trying to guide and teach us along the way, we have teammates who support and love us and we all have “sleds” (i.e. our bodies) that we need to take care of. But at the end of the day, to be successful we need to have desire, determination, and dedication. We should visualize where we want our lives to go then go out there and make it happen.
“How do you deal with a bad run?”
A bad run used to bother me quite a bit. I would put myself down or criticize my driving abilities. But over the years I came to see that every run is a learning experience, and that includes perfect runs and horrible ones. Whether we get it right the first time or it takes ten trips down the track, we can learn from every experience in life. Life is a classroom and we are learning every day. Of course we are going to make mistakes along the way and that’s ok!
“Why do you feel it's important to share your story? What are you hoping to help others avoid/overcome?”
People look at the bobsled thing and often place a lot of emphasis and respect on it. Because of that I feel like I’m in a unique spot to share my story, especially the parts about the challenges I have overcome including the insecurities, the battles with anxiety and depression, the drama/setback of sport and even my thoughts of suicide. If my story can help inspire just one person to change their life or find hope where they thought hope was lost then all of my efforts are worth it in my book.
“Why is bobsledding so important to you? What would it mean to you if you had to give it all up tomorrow?”
Bobsled has always been a guiding light for my life. It inspired me to try harder, dream bigger and dare to change the world. It has also been a supportive friend during life’s challenges, so in all honesty I have a hard time imagining life without being involved in the sport in some capacity. If I had to give it all up tomorrow, I’d probably want to die in my sleep tonight!
“When you are old, what do you want to be most remembered for?”
I think I would want to be remembered for making a difference in the world. I want to live such a life as to be a light in the world that inspires others to dream, to hope, to laugh and to love. And when I pass on from this life, I want that legacy of light and hope to be passed on to others, like the flame of the Olympic torch.
“What's the most gratifying experience you've ever had?”
I think getting to coach the U.S. Adaptive Bobsled Team, some of the first Paralympic bobsled athletes in the world. It was a wonderful group of athletes and such a thrill to be making history like that.
“What's the most exciting moment you've ever experienced?”
That’s a tough one. Every race, every media event and every speaking engagement has its own exciting memories. One of the most recent, though, was doing a photo and film shoot with a crew who were gathering footage for use in Russia during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. That was fun.
“When you work with your students, what are the most important values you hope to instill on them?”
I think that to be a good bobsled athlete, or to be a good person for that matter, you need to have core values. I try to focus on teamwork, motivation, hope, compassion, forgiveness, respect, integrity, and dedication through hard work. It is amazing how cultivating those traits can make you successful at just about anything in life.
"When and where can people watch you train/race?"
Currently my team and I train mostly at the Park City, Utah track at the following times:
- Tue/Wed/Thu: 6-8pm
- Fri: 3-5pm
- Sat: 12-2pm
I would suggest checking with us before you show up just in case something changes. People can hit me up on Facebook to follow our exploits and see what our schedule will be week to week.