Thursday, August 15, 2013

and so it begins...

Physics proves that the faster a bobsled is at the start of a race, the faster it will be at the end of a race. The most important variable in determining a bobsled’s start speed is the pure horse power found in an athletes speed and strength. Therefore every year the U.S. Bobsled team holds Push Championships to determine exactly which individual athletes can accelerate a bobsled off the start block the fastest. This years U.S. Push Championships were held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada during the first week of August. 

The only Ice House in the world! 

I have now participated in three Push Championships, but this year was different. The 2013 Push Championships marked the beginning of an Olympic year. 

I remember sitting in our first team meeting up in Calgary. There were 22 exceptional athletes and 22 big dreams. I looked around and thought, “the next U.S. Olympic Bobsled Team will come out of this room”. I am so humbled and blessed to consider all of those women teammates and many of them good friends. 

Every year, we also have a combine testing event a few days prior to Push Championships. We test a few short sprints, broad jump, shot toss, power clean, and back squat. An athlete needs to obtain a pre-determined passing score to qualify for housing at the Olympic Training Centers and to be eligible to compete on the U.S. Team. It also serves as a good judge of an athletes current physical condition and shows if they have physically improved over the past year.  My combine went well. I surpassed my goal score and, by the grace of God, I ran way faster than I have ever ran before. 

It was then time to focus on Push Championships. Push Championships are not the end all be all, but they can make or break you. This one race gives the coaches a pretty good idea of who they want as brakemen on the National Team. I am technically a driver now, but I do not have the driving experience needed to compete on the World Cup stage (yet!!!). My best shot at the 2014 Olympics is in the back of a bobsled, so I just had to enter the  brakeman competition. I knew that if I did not, I would spend the rest of my life wondering, what if? 

I finished 10th (out of 15). More than likely that is not good enough for this years Olympic Team. Only 3 brakemen and 3 drivers will make the final team. (However, I serve a mighty big God. I finished 10th my first year and went on to compete on the World Cup team. You can read that blog by clicking here). Lets just see who beat me: 

2013 U.S. Women Brakemen Results
  1. One of the top 2 brakemen in the WORLD.
  2. One of the top 2 brakemen in the WORLD (2013 World Championship Silver Medal).  
  3. Olympic Silver Medalist (Track & Field, 2004) in 100m Dash. 100m P.R.= 10.88. 
  4. Olympic Brakeman (2010 - 5th place). 
  5. World Indoor Champion (Track & Field) in 60m Hurdles and American Record Holder. 
  6. 2013 World Cup Brakeman. (100m P.R. = 11.3). 
  7. 2011 World Cup Brakeman. 
  8. Track & Field Olympic Trials participant in triple jump. 
  9. 2013 World Cup Brakeman. 
  10. Yours truly, Brittany Reinbolt. 

Trying to put Olympic athletes out of a job is no easy business, people. At least my name is now on a very honorable list and I meet the requirements for the U.S. Team if anything crazy happens. 

The next day was the big show for me, the moment I spent all summer preparing for, the driver push competition. In order to survive much longer in this sport, I needed to prove that I can push with the best bobsled drivers in the world. I ended up finishing 4th (behind 3 of the worlds very best). I can’t say that my performance was incredibly amazing, but God is great and I feel that I can say - Mission Accomplished! The 2018 Olympic Dream is alive and well! 

On another note. It was so good to be re-united with my teammates while in Canada. You will be seeing some of these awesome people on your T.V. screen in just a few months! 

In front of the 1988 Winter Olympic Torch! 

Post combine car ride 

I had the privilege of competing against one of my
Track & Field heroes, Lauryn Williams! 

So whats next? We have two Team Trials races, down the bobsled tracks, during October in Lake Placid, NY and Park City, UT. At the conclusion of the final race the selection committee will meet and decide who will compete on the various teams. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

2012-13 Season Update...

If there is anyone out there who actually reads my blog posts, I apologize. It has been nearly ten months since my last real update. 

Val & I transported a bobsled between
Park City, UT and Calgary, Can.
We had several good/long road trips.
Around the time I left you hanging, I realized that a bobsled pilot on the North American Cup tour is far from being just an athlete. You are your own bus driver, sled transporter, logistical coordinator, coach, manager, agent, nutritionist, and the list goes on. Not only are you responsible for yourself, but also your crew. Thankfully I spent the season with Valerie Smith as my main crew member and she was a tremendous asset. There have also been so many others who have helped out along the way (too many people to list - and all of whom I am incredibly grateful for) so I am in no way saying that I survived last season by my own strength. I am just saying that blogging didn’t seem to fit in anywhere between bobsledding and grad school. Did I mention that I am in grad school? I’m so stoked to be pursuing a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from DeVry University (online) thanks to an athlete scholarship from the U.S. Olympic Committee. 

North American Cup in Calgary, Can.
First race as a driver (Micaela Damas on brakes).
To sum up last bobsled season - by the grace of God, I successfully learned how to navigate a sled down 3 different tracks in 2 different countries and had the privilege of representing America in 4 international races. To top it off, there was never a dull moment with teammates Val Smith and Kristi Koplin nearby. Overall I would label the 2012-13 season as a valuable learning year.

Val, Me, and Kristi instigating awesomeness at the Freestyle Ski World Cup in Lake Placid, NY. 

Here are a few videos we made while training in Park City, Utah: 

"Top Fun" 

"Pure Bobsled Awesomeness"