Not that many athletes can say that they competed in the Olympics. Even less can say that they won a medal. One athlete can say yes to both of those facts. Jamie Greubel won a Bronze medal for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia in Women’s Bobsled.
While attending Cornell University she competed as a heptathlete. She set records in the heptathlon and indoor pentathlon for Cornell. From the advice from a friend, Jamie looked to try her hand in bobsled events. It is a good thing she took that advice because now she can call herself a Bronze winning medalist.
I have the great pleasure of chatting with Jamie about the Olympics, training, and how Top Dog Direct helped her by not only sponsoring her, but also by giving her some motivation to compete in the Olympics.
Art Eddy: First off I want to say congratulations for winning the Bronze medal in the 2014 Olympics for the bobsleigh event. Here in the United States we appreciate the effort and the way you represented our country. Tell me about your experience in Russia at the Olympics.
Jamie Greubel: Thank you. My experience in Sochi was amazing. It was such a unique location. There were three villages over there. There was the coastal village, the mountain village and the endurance village. The coastal village was right on the Black Sea. I was fortunate to stay there for a few days. We got to look right out on the ocean. There were palm trees. I saw a dolphin one day. It was an incredible experience.
What is special about the Olympics is that you get to meet a ton of amazing athletes. To connect with so many different people from the U.S. and to cheer for them was very inspiring. It made us very excited to compete in our own event, which wasn’t until the 18th and 19th of February. When we competed in our event other athletes came to support us. There was such an incredible support system. It was just an amazing experience that I was fortunate enough to compete in.
AE: Watching the Olympics I feel nervous for all you athletes before your competition begins. For you what are the emotions that are going on in your mind right before you get ready to compete?
JG: I had a full World Cup season under my belt a year before. That was sort of the test run that I had for the actual Olympics. I learned so much. It was only my third full season of driving. It was definitely a learning experience for me. I learned that when I was in the lead or doing really well that I couldn’t get too fired up.
It is a combination of feelings. I have to get pumped up right in the beginning before a race. Then I have to focus on driving when I am in the sled. When I am driving I need to be calm and collected so that my driving is very smooth. The whole World Cup season help set me up to do well at the Olympics. As I got up to the starting line in the Olympics it was the most calm I felt in any race. I knew that if I did exactly what I did before in other competitions that I would do well. I can’t get too nervous or too amped before a race. That helped me stay calm during the race.
AE: Like I said earlier you guys won the Bronze medal. It is cool to see pictures of you with your medal. You look so proud and you should be. As an Olympic athlete that trains to compete every four years winning a medal must be out of this world.
JG: It is. I have always been so competitive. To actually have this Olympic dream was not too long ago. Growing up as an athlete and competing I never thought that I could become an Olympic athlete. I have always looked up to the Olympians. I was always competitive, but I never made that connection.
A teammate in college suggested that I try competing in bobsled. Then to have the Olympic dream come true that quickly made it that much more amazing.
AE: What has been the best experience since you came back to America with the Bronze medal?
JG: The most moving moment for me was when I went back to my elementary school. I walked into the cafeteria that had almost 700 kids chanting U.S.A. For me that was better than meeting any celebrity. That was such an incredible moment for me to know that I inspired these kids. They were so excited to meet me and talk about winning the medal. That for me has to be one of my most favorite moments after the Olympics.
AE: In other sports I know that teams look over tapes and plan for this and that. For the bobsleigh team what type of training do you do besides actually racing?
JG: We have to do a lot of video analysis because actually leading up to a race we only get six minutes to practice. Every run down the track is only a minute long. We get two each day and six official training runs. To only have six minutes before a race is nothing.
Leading up to the Olympics I only had ten runs down the track. That is only ten minutes to prepare for the games. Getting all the feedback from our training by using the video review is crucial. We also walk up a mile above the track to analyze the track to see what lies ahead and how we can prepare for it. We talk about what we need to improve on which is super important to compete at a high level.
AE: That is amazing. Just six minutes. To go along with that is there anything else like that where people are not aware of what goes into training or competing in the bobsleigh event?
JG: I would highly encourage anyone that might live or visit Lake Placid, NY or Park City, Utah to go for a ride and experience what we go through. In those places are where you can see what we go through. We experience about 4 to 5 G’s when we ride. We travel about 75 to 90 miles per hour. So that is something people might not know.
When we are going that fast I have to process so much information. I can’t use a brake pedal or a gas pedal to slow down or speed up. Everything I do to accelerate or brake is done by my steering. I have to be incredibly accurate and basically control the sled without taking away the speed. Every time you are steering you are actually pulling down the sled. You can’t let it just run free. There is a fine balance between letting it be free to go fast and also controlling it.
AE: You were in Chicago with one of your sponsors, Top Dog Direct. Tell me about your time in the Windy City.
JG: Top Dog Direct is an amazing company that just started sponsoring me. They are such a great company. They look for inventors and help and support their products and get them on TV. They did almost the same with me in a way. I had not made the Olympic team yet. They believed in me and knew that I had the potential to be great.
They supported me and I wanted to help them back. I was in Chicago with them to sign autographs and talk with the people coming to this fair. It was a very cool experience. I got to meet a lot of great people and some really cool inventors.