Here’s a little story of how God put me in the right place, even when I had no idea it was happening.
In 2018, I moved up to Lake Placid following my first season of bobsled. I went from working 40+ hours a week and training to just training. I found myself with a lot of extra time that I was not used to. So, since I didn’t have a car In Lake Placid I would go on long walks. About 3/4 miles away from the Olympic Training Center where I lived is a Marriott Hotel. I got a wild hair one day and walked in to the Starbucks located in the lobby and asked if they needed any help. The guy behind the desk said, “yeah, actually we need a barista.”
I immediately started working 3-4 days a week at 6 a.m. I would walk (sometimes run because there was a black bear lurking nearby) at 5:30 a.m. to serve coffee. I fell in love with so many things about this situation. I loved my walk (especially when I knew Mr. Bear got taken back to the mountains.) I would either spend the whole walk praying or listening to ‘You Say’ by Lauren Daigle while watching the sunrise. Besides all my other prayers, I would pray over my situation, over my season, over my future on this morning walk. I also really enjoyed serving coffee. I loved the smell; I loved the process and I loved the people I met doing it. Now looking back, it is where I set my foundation for many things to come. (I only worked there for 3 months because then I made the 2018-2019 National Team and started season.)
The next season, I got a concussion and was out for the whole season. Before I even flew home from Lake Placid, I set up an interview with the Starbucks near my home in Omaha, Nebraska. I knew I was going to need to find something to do with my time because at that point I was only an athlete and not working, so when the athlete part got cut, I had nothing. I also needed benefits because once I was off the National Team, my benefits also got cut. I remember my mom telling me years ago Starbucks had amazing benefits for only part-time work, so I inquired.
During the interview, my now current boss said, “Hey, Starbucks has an Elite Athlete Program that I think you would qualify for.” I had no idea. That certainly was not the reason I came to work there. I emailed the person in charge and normally they require you to work at Starbucks for a year before you can apply but for some reason he said he would waive that for me and I could apply in June for the 2020-2021 program.
In August, I got the call that I was accepted! This was amazing news. I was ecstatic. Starting that October, I would be able to leave for bobsled and receive a stipend each month for a year, I got an entire athlete package filled with Starbucks Gear, and I got to keep my benefits.
Looking back now, I didn’t know when I was walking those early mornings in Lake Placid to serve coffee that one day it would lead to something pretty amazing. I also didn’t think anything good could come from that concussion. Without that concussion, I would not be a Starbucks Elite Athlete. It's like Jesus knows what He’s doing. It's like there has been a plan all along. Last year I left Lake Placid not knowing if I’d ever come back but trusted Jesus to take me down the path that was meant for me.
Currently, I just made the 2020-2021 National Team and have a pretty cool sponsor to help me along this journey. I couldn’t have dreamt this up. Thank You Jesus. And thank you all for the prayers and support! It means the world to me.
LET GO USA!
The 2019 - 2020 bobsled season was supposed to be the best season yet. I finished last season racing in the World Championships, placing 9th in the world. Following the season, I moved to the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs to train full time. That’s all I focused on; training. Getting better. Chasing the dream.
But the reality of what happened was something less than a dream. In general, my push times and sprints during team competitions weren’t as good as previous years, and from the start of the season, everything seemed to spiral down from there.
My very first trip down the ice in Lake Placid, unfortunately, set the tone for the season. I was already a little bit nervous because going down the track for the first time in months always brings back some nerves. We push, we run, we jump in, we start cruising down the hill and then about 30 seconds in was a moment of silence and then boom, we were on our heads.
We crashed. And my head really took a hit.
I was dizzy and disoriented. Emotional and nauseous. Angry and confused. WHY!? Even though my testing numbers weren’t where I wanted them to be, I was sure I would prove it on the ice.
The weeks following brought an enormous amount of anxiety. I had been suffering from a concussion and I didn’t even really know. I was forced to sit out and recover. When cleared, I did not have peace about sliding. I did not want to be there anymore and I was going through emotions that I had not felt toward the sport. One day I felt fine and then the next I would be so anxious and moody and I couldn’t explain it.
I no longer had peace sliding and the season already felt over. Then, it was announced that only one sled would be funded on the World Cup tour, forcing most athletes to the sidelines for the year. Following that, I wasn’t named to the National Team and it was time for me to make a decision, which was pretty clear on what to do; take the season off, re-focus, heal and see where God leads.
Now looking back, I truly know it was a blessing in disguise. I wouldn’t have stopped sliding for a season unless I was forced too. So, that’s what God did. He forced it.
So, I made plans to return to Omaha to focus on working, training and figuring out what’s next.
Before returning home from Lake Placid in December, I had set up an interview at Starbucks because I knew they offered full benefits for only 20 hours of work, and since I was kicked off the elite athlete insurance, I needed to make moves, and quick. I was just going for the benefits and because I sincerely enjoy making coffee. When I lived at the training center in Lake Placid, I walked to the Marriott in the mornings and would barista at the Starbucks in the hotel. So, I had some experience... ha!
I interviewed the day after I returned and my (now) manager says, “Starbucks actually has an Elite Athlete Program where they financially help athletes like you.” Perfect. Now I am determined to learn more about this Elite Athlete Program and hopefully someday help other athletes in my position.
For now, I’m back in Omaha working and will continue to train. I don’t know where this will all lead. And I don’t know what the future holds. But I do know the One who does and right now I am following peace, and my peace in being home, working and training.
Right now, I plan to go back next season but honestly, it’s up to God. He’s brought me this far and trust that I’m not done yet. He knows what He’s doing, and it seems He had different plans for me this season. My job right now is to trust Him. He’s never failed me before.
Thanks for your continued support. This athlete journey is filled with mountain top and valley moments. March 2019 was a mountaintop. Winter 2019 was the valley moment. It’s all part of the journey and I’m grateful for your support.
Could Beijing 2022 still be in the picture?
Lately it has bothered me when I say to friends and supporters “thanks for helping me chase my dream” because honestly, this wasn’t my dream. And I shouldn’t get credit for dreaming this bobsled life up.
My dream was much smaller, less detailed, and quite frankly, seen through my tunnel vision eyes.
Back in 2014, I wrote multiple times in my journal that I wanted to travel the world and I wanted to compete at a high level. But, what it looked like to me, was I would travel one day with my husband when I retired, and my competing days looked way over. Or, I could maybe get into coaching and live vicariously through that.
Three years later and I am still in awe of how Jesus took the desires of my heart and did exceedingly, abundantly more than I could even think or ask for! (Ephesians 3:20)
But, I still find myself with tunnel vision even after God has opened doors that I didn’t even know existed. I look and rationalize in the natural. I pray to the supernatural God but find myself falling back to seeing my circumstances in my eyes of how I can handle them and what people can do for me instead of what the Creator of the universe can.
A few months back, I was talking to my mom on the phone and I was really bummed out. I had this whole plan of how I thought my summer was going to go and then everything I planned started to crumble. There just weren’t any other options, and it started to deflate my hope.
Sometimes, I am a stronger Christian in my journals than I can be at times in real life:
2/14/2019 I wrote:
“No powers in hell will not defeat me because I know the King on the throne! I am not sure how this season/summer/bobsled career will go, but I know His will be done.”
3/30/2019 I wrote:
“It’s funny to look back only two months ago and remember my own perfect little plan I had for my life/summer and how small-minded I was thinking. Thank you, Jesus for wrecking what I thought I wanted because to be honest, I get depressed thinking about my plan I had.”
Again, Jesus took my plans, and gave me a better plan. It doesn’t make it easy when it’s happening but the joy is worth it in the end.
I am heading to Colorado Springs this summer to live and train at the Olympic Training Center, and then in July, I’m heading to Peru for 3 1/2 weeks to help at the Pan American games (1 of 2 selected for the job!) Neither of these two things were on my radar when I planned my initial ‘perfect little summer,’ and now, I am absolutely over the top elated and thankful!
Are you letting your tunnel vision steal your hope too? I encourage you to fight your emotions daily and find your hope and joy in the Supernatural One! He does actually know what He’s doing :)
I vividly remember the moment I was talking with my coworker in 2015 and he was explaining the story of God parting the Red Sea for Moses and the Israelites. He went on to tell how soon after God parted the Red Sea for the Israelites how quickly they started to doubt and question if God would provide for them when they found themselves wandering and lost. Out of my mouth I said “How in the world could the Israelites doubt God after He parted the Red Sea for them?”
Before I could even finish the sentence, I heard in my spirit, “God has parted ‘Red Seas’ for you time and time again and you have times of doubt.”
Do you ever find yourself in that situation too? While waiting on God, things in the natural don’t appear to be going how we want or plan and we start to doubt. We start to believe the lies of ‘never’ and ‘forever'... This situation will ‘never’ change or it will be like this ‘forever.’
There are times I pray (or you could call it beg and plead, LOL) for a sign. PLEASE GIVE ME SOMETHING JESUS. LET ME KNOW YOU ARE LISTENING AND WORKING BEHIND THE SCENES! Even if I get a sign that I clearly know is a direct answer to a prayer and I feel peace and strength for a day or two, if Jesus is quiet again, I fall into doubting like the Israelites did. WILL JESUS COME THROUGH AGAIN AND HOW AND WHEN!?
Lately, I have been holding onto the last thing that Jesus showed me, trusting that and meditating on His promises. I have found that even though there are moments that I still physically or mentally hurt, I have an underlying peace. A deep-down peace knowing that the future is in the hands of the creator of the world. Philippines 4:7 “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
As I’ve grown spiritually, I have learned a few things I wanted to share:
1. I don’t need constant reminders or signs, that’s what ALL the promises in the Bible are for.
2. Getting angry and blaming God doesn’t change things, but praise does. When life gets so hard you don’t even want to face the day, I turn on worship music (loud!) and I guarantee you will feel some of the burden lift and a small amount of hope break through.
I had written the Red Sea blog while I was going through a period of time when I had to gear up for each day because life was ‘sucking’ to say the least.
There was about a three week period when I spent many moments in the bathroom on my knees crying and the only thing I could force myself to say was, “Lord, I trust you in this storm.”
In my personal life, I was hurting.
In bobsled world, my progress was going backwards.
I wanted to run home and be with my family and run away from this hurt but in my spirit, I felt Jesus say, “Hold on, you need to finish.” Even though I was hurting I had an underlying peace. I was able to laugh and find joy in the days but it didn’t take away the physical and emotional pain at times.
I also remembered that some of my greatest ‘revelations’ in life happened when I was in the deepest of storms and when I needed plugged into Jesus 24/7. I was confident that the worldly pain I was going through was because the devil saw something big coming.
Fast forward three weeks to Sun, Feb 24, 2019.
I had a one-on-one meeting with the USA bobsled head coach and he said, “You have been selected to the 2019 World Championship Team, and will be racing with Nicole Vogt.” Only 3 brakemen get selected to be part of this. (See the reveal video here).
I also got to compete in National Championships, the final race of the season.
Just to recap my season…
My (partial) funding was taken away after the first half of the season and I got moved from the World Cup Team down to the North American Team.
I had lost every single race off of the season except for the very last one.
I had not raced in a single World Cup race until the last race.
It looked absolutely impossible for me to race in Worlds that I actually was planning to just go home and reset for the next season because I would have to fund myself.
But God had different plans. I learned another big lesson: we may count ourselves out, and we might fail over and over, but when God says ‘it’s time,’ He makes a way.
Finishing top 10 in the world (9th) was an incredible feeling, but honestly, the lasting joy that will come from that will be looking back and seeing how Jesus continually works through our lives. I realize there is way more to life than bobsled, but whatever storm you may be facing, Jesus already has the healing plan and the answer, keep trusting Him!
It’s been an incredible two seasons of bobsled. Now, I’m transitioning to off-season training and preparing for season three, the 2019-2020 bobsled season in November. Can’t wait to see what God has in store!
Thanks for your support!
January 10, 2019
The second half of my bobsled season took a turn that I was really praying it wouldn’t take. I like to be a back-seat driver to God and say, “I think this is best” but Jesus always sees the whole picture and not just what I want in the moment.
Currently I am still on the National Team but unfortunately, I wasn’t one of the 4 brakemen selected to compete with USA 1 and 2 in Europe where I started the season. The coaches thought I would get more ice time and development work sliding with USA 3 in North America. They were right but it wasn’t what I wanted.
Life with Jesus is exciting. But I’ve also learned that life has extremes and it is with Jesus that both can be a place for growth and peace.
When I initially got the call from my coach last month, I cried in the car to my mom’s wedding for about 2 hours straight. I got to the hotel and knew I needed some alone time and to release this to God. He in the end has the final say over everything and if this is part of His plan for me, then it is going to work out for good…eventually.
With tears in my eyes I got on my hands and knees and thanked God because I knew this was part of his plan. I prayed that good things were still going to happen THAT night, and they did. By the end of the night I was jumping around happy and giddy. (I got texts from my pilots when they heard the news).
I share that because I want to encourage you. Even in the heartache moments, if you give it to God, He can still make small moments happen which help remind us that He is in control of the big picture too. He listened to my requests in the moment of heartache, and that helped remind me that even though this is not what I want, it is still in control by Him. It still doesn’t take away the physical heartache, however. My heart physically hurt, and it did for about a week each time I thought of the situation.
I have been reading through my journal I started before the season a lot recently because again, it helps remind me that to enjoy this process. SIDENOTE: I also write down fears I have, release them to God, and trust He will work all things out for good because that is a promise he makes!
Two things that might help in times when fear and uncertainty hit..
“I have a lot of big things coming up and they all require a lot of Gods favor and help. I am in Gods waters right now with nothing certain in my life but I do believe this is the exact place He needs me in.”
- I believe God will put us in situations where everything is unstable to test just how much we will trust Him. Uncertainty doesn’t mean God is absent but it’s more of a test to our faith. (That’s why I pray for the small daily things to help remind me He is still listening!)
Make a fear list AND a prayer list, pray about them, and then release them and watch how God will work. Some of the prayers are answered quickly, and some things I go back and write the answer to years later. But the bottom line is to release it and have peace.
“Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer your prayers and requests to God. Then, because you belong to Jesus Christ, God will bless you with peace that no one can complete understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel.”
Thanks for joining me on this journey.
December 3, 2018
Greetings from Latvia!
Team USA has now been here for 9 days, and we have only slid once. At this point we were supposed to have 10+ trips down the track, but due to a track repair needed we have only slid one day for one run (in a training session you normally slide 2-3 times).
The cool part is, I slid that one run. It makes it special for me because I slid with the USA 1 Pilot Elana Meyers Taylor. Latvia has not held a World Cup race in about 12 years, so this was the very first time Elana has slid this track as well. There is not a lot Elana has not done in the sport of bobsleigh (3x Olympic medalist, 12-year veteran) so to be able to say I took her first trip in Latvia was special to me.
It is always nerve wracking to go down a new track for the first time, but it made it even scarier knowing my pilot had never slid this track either (which is very rare). During my warm up, I was extremely giggly because I was that scared and sometimes the only thing I can do when I feel that nervous is to laugh. My job as the brakeman is to make my pilot feel confident, so I had to put my nerves aside and put on my armor of faith to slide.
Standing at the line as the buzzer goes off for us to go, we do our hand shake and all I can think to say while my heart is pounding out of my chest is, “well, let’s go have some fun!”
Elana is one of the best pilots in the world which gave me confidence. If I’m going to slide a new track, I am thankful to have a top pilot take me (the slide went amazing by the way). The other thing that helps me to overcome this fear is to pray for others.
I start to pray for people who would give anything to walk, stand up, or get out of a hospital bed. This helps take the focus off me of being scared and hopefully using it as a prayer to help or bless others. I never want to take what God gave me for granted but to use it fully to thank Him.
By knowing that Jesus has already planned each slide before I have even taken it and praying for others gives me confidence to stand on the line, with my heart pounding out of my chest, and say to my pilot “Let’s go have some fun.” One of my favorite verses is Deuteronomy 31:8 “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Scary things do happen in bobsled all the time. Going 75-95 mph down an ice tube creates that danger and the only way I am able to do this and have fun is by completely trusting that Jesus will protect me. Anything that would happen would be with His permission and ultimately be part of His plan so I don’t walk around with that fear. Saying that, 2 people after our slide had kind of a freak accident.
There are 16 curves at this track and in curve 15, the sled hit the lip of the roof and it tore the back runners off (where the brakeman sits). Our coaches were not comfortable sliding until it is deemed safe by the Federation, so that is why we have been waiting for the clearance to slide.
Races are this Friday. I will not be racing but I believe Jesus will provide other opportunities to race. At this point, I am so thankful to be on the team, traveling the world and representing the USA. This week, I will stand with gratitude in my heart and cheer on my teammates. I prayed long and hard to make the World Cup team, so I am determined not to let the devil steal my joy. Thank you all who have teamed up with me to make this possible. You are in my prayers daily and I know blessings will come back to you the way you have blessed me.
Random Facts from Latvia:
On December 10, we fly from Riga, Latvia to Frankfurt, Germany where we will drive 2 hours to Winterberg, Germany. Elana is racing 2-woman and also 4-woman at this spot. I will most likely be racing in the 4-woman race which is exciting!
More to come from Germany!
I’m so thankful for the Massage Heights family who was there for me when I was fresh out of college in my first job and is there for me now as a sponsor and big supporter of my dreams.
When I worked at Massage Heights West Maple in Omaha, Neb. back in 2012, I had no idea where my path would take me. Like any young adult, I was just finding my way and trying to navigate the real world. Stressful for sure. I always thought of Massage Heights as a fun place to work with caring people and I continued working there even after accepting another full-time corporate position. The people and great ambiance kept me coming back, and still does to this day. I met so many people along the way and have new life-long friendships because of my time there.
Never did I imagine that that same employer would step up in this way all these years later. It really shows how much they care and I believe God had me in that spot at that time for reasons I am seeing now. Beyond the mental and physical benefits of massage therapy, the company has played a major role in my journey and will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s truly a team atmosphere and I’m honored to have worked for such a great company.
So, THANK YOU Massage Heights for your support and the support you show all of your employees!
Was this a dream as a kid, and made reality through the passion for the sport?
Asked by Jake Swanson
Bobsledding was not a childhood dream. I really only found out about it last year. I knew what bobsledding was but didn’t realize it wasn’t a sport kids grew up doing. Competing at a high level - Olympics level - has always been a dream of mine.
Pre-race snack? Any pre-race superstitions or routines?
Asked by my step-sisters boyfriend, Ryan Bolt
Pre-race snack depends on if I (we) are over or under weight for the race, LOL. If my pilot and I are under weight, I would probably have a granola bar. If we are over weight, I’d have deep breath of air. ;)
As for pre-race routines…try to stay warm and pray.
Do you get free time to site see during the Olympics? Also, how much training do you put in a year?
Asked by Preston Zach
SIDENOTE: I have never been to the Olympics and have not been on an Olympic team.
But, in our travels and competing on the North American and World Cup circuits, we see a lot of things while traveling in the car. We also do have down time to do some things and especially after the races we are able to relax and site see.
Is there an emergency way to stop that darn bobsled?
Asked by Jon Lambert
To answer this the longest way I can, no. LOL
What is the fastest you have ever been on a sled?
Asked by Terry Henry
My pilot and I crashed in Whistler, Canada going 87 mph in curve 7 so I think we’ve gotten up to about 92-95 mph.
Who taught you to love snow?
Asked by my favorite human, most beautiful lady in the world, my Mama, Julie Brungardt
My Mama & Santa!
Who makes the bobsleds?
Asked by Jonathan Face
BMW makes all the bobsleds for the National Team.
What is the difference between bobsled and luge?
Asked by my former professor at Wayne State College, Sherry Dorman
Bobsled is raced with two or four people in a sled weighing about 400 pounds. Luge is an athlete (or two for doubles) on a sled about 70 pounds going down the track feet first. Skeleton is a single athlete on a 70-pound sled going down head first.
How long are your training practices?
Asked by Zachary Evans
Bobsled training practices (on ice) can be on average from 3-6 hours. There is a lot of sled work before and after sliding.
How long have you been bobsledding? Do you miss Nebraska? How do you practice bobsled in the summer?
Asked by Andrew Schliewe
I have been bobsledding for a year. I hate to say this but no, I do not miss Nebraska but I do miss the people. In the summer, we practice bobsledding by pushing a bobsled on wheels on a push track in Lake Placid!
When you feel like giving up or are in a funk, what do you do to get past it?
Asked by Darren Hromadka
Pray…believe…and keep grinding knowing that feelings are fickle and if I keep moving forward things will change.
What brought me to bobsledding versus another Olympic sport?
Asked by Sarah Jae
Bobsled was my path because the strengths it requires (speed, strength) to be successful in the sport is what I was best at in college.
What was the defining moment that made you leave everything to chase a dream?
By Anthony Watson (Jamaican Olympic Skeleton Athlete)
It was a moment when we were driving in Europe and I was overwhelmed with the beauty and my friend said she got a text from someone she knew, who was the same age, died unexpectedly . It was that moment when I realized life is too short to not continue to do something that I am passionate about and excited about. I love to travel, I love to compete and God has blessed me with the body to still do it so I decided I would continue to do this as long as He continued to provide a way. Thankfully, He has and I am not able to do this full time. Thank you for this question. I don’t believe I have actually ever told anyone that part.
What are your goals for the season and the next quad?
Asked by Corie Mapp
This season’s bobsledding goal is to make the National Team (Check J). My ultimate quad goal (4-year goal) is obviously the Olympics in 2022. I am learning to trust the process so my overall goal is to give 100% each opportunity I get and become a better, stronger, faster bobsledder and teammate.
Are the push bars set at the same height or can these be adjusted? What sled adjustments can be made? How are the runners (AKA things the sled slides on) sharpened?
Asked by Mark Hall
The push bars are set, they cannot be adjusted. For a brakeman, the foot pegs can be adjusted. Also, you can add padding around inside parts of the sled to help with comfort for or protection for a brakeman. The runners are sharpened by the team with sand paper…yes, sand paper. The night before a race you can spend 2-3 sanding the runners!
How do you stay grounded?
Asked by Marc Sundermeier
Realizing that life is a gift and a privilege and it can be taken from me at any time.
How did you get involved in bobsledding?
Asked by Taylor Stanton/Jacob Hoffman/Austin Fillipi
I was listening to a Christian radio station and I heard the story about Vonetta Flowers and how she went from missing the Olympics in track to bobsledding. This story sparked my interest and then I looked on USABS.com and saw there were combines to try out for bobsled each summer, and the rest is history.
What is your daily workout routine?
Asked by Lisa Neu
Everyday is different but it rotates on a schedule similar to this:
Monday/Wednesday/Friday - Sprints, Pushing, Lifting
Tuesday/Thursday - Tempo (Hurdle mobility, form running, Ab workouts)
Saturday - Bike
All the days include stretching and sports med to keep the body healthy :)
Do you grocery shop or do they provide food? What is your diet like?
Asked by McKenna Reagan
The only thing I go grocery shopping for is sparkling water. :) The Olympic Training Center provides all the food. If you’re not careful though, it’s like college all over again where you can gain the ‘freshman 15.’ To be honest, I go in spurts of being really strict and then not strict at all. When I am on top of my game I eat a TON of veggies, lean protein, whole grains and spinach smoothies. If you need to default to something, default to cooked, steamed, grilled veggies with marinara sauce, you’ll be surprised by how delicious it is.
Where on your travels has been your favorite place to visit?
Asked by Josh Vogel/Denise Webbert
This is hard to pick because everywhere we go is beautiful. There are only 16 tracks in the world, so a lot of them have held winter games at their site. Whistler, Canada was breath taking and then La Plagne, France because the drive there was through the French Alps. I’d also say St. Moritz, because everything about St. Moritz is perfect.
How fast is the bobsled moving? How many G-Forces are you pulling on the curves?
Asked by Wes Shockley
The speed depends on the track but I would say anywhere from 70-90 mph. We can experience from 4 to 5 G-Forces (feeling like an elephant stepped on your back) ;)
What do you wear under your speed suit (uniform)?
Asked by my sister-in-law Leslie
Depends if my pilot and I are close to making weight or not… LOL. If we are a few kilos over the night before, I wear only my burn vest. If we are under weight, I will wear a sports bra, burn vest and spandex.
How does your faith sustain you in these times? Both in struggles and joys?
Asked by Deb Harm
My faith is the only reason I can do any of this. Through experience, I am starting to appreciate the struggles because I know God is STILL in control and it makes the joys even sweeter. I’ve also found that the harder it gets, the greater the reward if I turn it to God. I heard this one time and also remind myself that Satan is going to try and stop me in every area of my life because my main goal in life is to take people to the kingdom with me, and I know that he’s trying to stop me because that is opposite of his plan.
In the joys I just say ‘thank you God’ continuously, I even cry most times because the joys are that sweet. In the struggles I often cry too but I go back to my foundation and that is reminding myself the promises in the Bible, and how He works all things out for good, and with that, I am able to continue on.
How do I become an Olympic bobsledder?
Asked by Ken Maese
First step: pass a USA Bobsled combine. The testing items are: 15m, 30m, 45m, 30 fly, standing broad jump, and shot toss. If you score over 500 points (score sheet on usabs.com), you’re one step in the right direction :)
How busy are you as a bobsledder?
Asked by William Knowles
Depends. Some athletes are full-time athletes and some athletes also work. Personally, I was used to working full time and then training so when I moved to the Olympic Training Center to strictly train, I found myself with more free time than I was used to (even though a days worth of training can be anywhere from 2-8 hours a day). I got a job as a part time barista 4 mornings a week so I keep busy.
How do you train your MIND? What are your favorite books, podcasts or other methods for mental toughness?
Asked by Sandi Lincoln
Getting my mind right is a daily requirement.
BOOKS I TRAVEL WITH:
1. My journals. I read them to remember and remind myself how faithful God has been through all my struggles and to see prayers answered that I prayed for back then!
2. Jesus Calling by Sarah Young
3. The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. It’s a book about praying for BIG things and believing to see them come to pass.
4. F* Your Feelings by Ryan Munsey. I just started this. My oldest brother called and said I need to Amazon Prime it ASAP. It’s about the mental toughness of Navy Seals and the best athletes in the world.
5. The Bible. Recently really focusing on the book of Daniel.
1. Joyce Meyer. I listen to her messages whenever I go on a walk and most times while I get ready in the morning to start the day out with beating the battle in my mind before it starts.
2. Steven Furtick. Pastor out of North Carolina. Incredible messages.
How do you prepare before a race? What is the most critical thing you have to do to get maximum speed?
Asked by Wesley Sykes
The most important thing I do before a race is mentally prepare. I visualize the track and its curves in my mind, along with my start. The sled picks up speed on the track mostly by how the pilot drives, but as a brakeman (which I am), it is pushing the sled the fastest at the beginning of the race.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome on your journey?
Asked by Michael Collins
I would say my challenges last year and this year are different. Last year I was challenged with fear. At the beginning of the season it was fear of the actual ride, fear of crashing, and then fear of always feeling dizzy after the slides in Lake Placid (my dizziness did end though!)
This year I have been challenged with feeling that I am not ‘enough.’ I had feelings early in training that I wasn’t fast enough, strong enough, technical enough, young enough and so on. I may not be enough in some areas but I know that God opened this door, brought me down this path, so enough or not, something good will come from it.
What are you favorite and least favorite tracks, and why?
Asked by Jonathan Wilhelm
My favorite track is in St. Moritz, Switzerland. If anyone knows about bobsled they know this is the answer. My least favorite used to be Lake Placid, but after winning two gold medals there last year on the North American Circuit, its still not my favorite but I don’t hate it now :)
Is Cool Runnings a motivational movie or comedy to the team? Is it your favorite? Is it a requirement to watch it? Have you ever chanted “Feel the Rhythm! Feel the Rhyme!” In your head before a race?
Asked by Tyler Labenz/Adam Powers/Jake Vawter
I will say that is one of the most popular questions we get (questions about Cool Runnings). No, it’s not my favorite movie but I did watch it for the first time last year and got goose bumps, but not a requirement to watch (ha!). I have never said that phrase before a race because in the moment I am thinking about way more than Cool Runnings… LOL!