You were a track and field athlete initially, but you switched to bobsleigh. Can you tell us how the switch happened?
Yes, track was my game. I was a Division One track athlete at Elon University as an undergraduate, and I transferred to Loughborough University, the No. 1 sports university in the UK.
I was on the right track because I ended up representing this school nationally. I won a gold medal at the BUCS Indoor Championships in the 4x200 relay as the anchor leg.
Unfortunately, due to the global pandemic, the dream was put on hold. Everything stopped, and I had 24 hours to choose whether to return to the US. I decided to return and through a friend, I was introduced to bobsled and that's how I became a bobsledder.
That sounds like a tough experience switching to another sport. How do you motivate yourself?
If the question is how I stay motivated my answer would be: “I don’t.” That may sound shocking but I say that because I understand that motivational speeches can only keep you in the game for so long.
When my motivation runs out I have to rely on discipline to get the job done. So when I don’t like the workout, I admit it, but I do it anyway. And when I’m feeling the burn, I yell or grunt. And when I need a longer rest, I take it and then do that last rep.
The point is that it is OK to be honest about your journey! In the office or on the track, it’s okay to not be motivated to do the work. But at the end of the day, that's how things get done. So be sure to stay tuned into “why” you are working so hard for the outcome you want.
Due to your recent switch to bobsled, you made the Team USA Bobsled & Skeleton development team, which is an accomplishment. What are your strengths and weaknesses as an athlete?
My strength as an athlete has always been resilience. I have had so many setbacks as an athlete and yet I always come back stronger and learn from my failures and mistakes. I believe this ability to be resilient is what separates elite athletes from competent ones.
My weakness as an athlete comes from a learning disability that makes it difficult for me to learn or understand certain concepts. I learned them eventually but only with a lot of patience and extra work. It can be tough and frustrating at times but it helps me not to compare myself to others. This is because I know we are all different and we all have our own strengths and weaknesses.
You had a crash last January. The memory of an accident or injury can limit an athlete’s performance. Do you have a way to overcome such fear?
Yes, I had a pretty serious crash my first time sliding in Lake Placid. I didn’t know at the time, but after this crash I had two fractures in my back and an intercostal strain.
At first, I didn’t even know what caused the crash. I just remember hitting my head very hard, waking up on my side and then being so out of it that a medic pulled me aside to assess me. It was then that I did something I had never done growing up as an athlete. I pulled myself out of the game. The pain was just so real.
I worked hard to eat, sleep and recover properly in order to get back on that sled and have a clean run. What helped me overcome this accident was looking back through the video to understand what happened. I even asked other pilots for help in understanding how to handle the turn I crashed off of.
I think the moral of the story is that it is okay to take yourself out of the game. However, just be sure that when you get back in it is for the right reasons and you know you are ready.
Tell us what you think of WaveWear. Do you have a favorite WaveWear product?
Even as a track athlete, I was known for wearing compression sleeves. I switched from shin to arm sleeves and now full-body compression wear thanks to WaveWear.
As someone who loves compression wear because it enables blood flow to circulate quicker to the heart and ultimately help your injuries heal quicker, I love that WaveWear combines this with kinesiology tape! To have support for my body, less pain and swelling, and better athletic performance has been such a game-changer.
My favorite WaveWear product is the Y20 compression leggings. Every time I train in them I feel very supported and my legs are much better to the point where I can get the most out of my workouts. I feel so confident in the L20 leggings that I wore them to my first ever practice in the new ice house over in Lake Placid! As always, I had a very productive session and can’t wait to keep training with WaveWear products.
You are an athlete, but also a student. What are you studying and what is your goal or dream after winning that gold medal?
I just finished my Master's course at Loughborough University where I studied marketing! I want to use my marketing knowledge to help the athletes that come after me find an easier path towards reaching their athletic dreams.
As for medals, I like to think that I can medal as long as I work hard and stay true to myself as an athlete, a team member, and a student of the sport. Having said that, the goal has always been the same for me.
I wish to rise as the underdog I have always been. My goal is to share my journey and my dream with those who have never given up on their dreams, too. I also hope to inspire not only myself but those around me in everything that I do.
|Development Team Pilot at Team USA Bobsled & Skeleton|