Four years ago, Lauren Gibbs, 33, would have never seen herself in the position that she is in today — competing for the 2018 U.S. Winter Olympic bobsled team.
“At 33 years old, this is just the weirdest place to be. Four years ago, I was sitting in an office in a suit. This is a much better suit,” Gibbs told USA Today on Nov. 18, referring to her Team USA uniform.
Gibbs, who was born in Los Angeles but now calls Denver home, has always been athletic. she went to Brown University and was originally supposed to run track, but she decided she wanted to play volleyball instead. After she graduated, she was attracted to CrossFit, which was where she first learned about bobsledding. However, she never thought that she would be an Olympic athlete.
At the time, two-time Olympian medalist Elana Meyers Taylor was looking for a new brakeman after returning from the 2014 Sochi Games. Through a mutual contact, Meyers Taylor found Gibbs. After hearing Gibbs could dead lift 425 pounds, the two-time Olympic medalist (Silver, 2014; Bronze, 2010) invited Gibbs to tryout. After that tryout, Gibbs never returned to her sales job.
Gibbs had to put in a lot of work to get to where she is today. Although she was already athletic, she needed to train twice as hard.
“I was literally god awful, like bad,” Gibbs joked with USA Today. “It wasn’t just that you were a natural at it. Nope. Not even close.”
She started out at 205 pounds, but was able to get down to 172 pounds for competition. She was also able to get over her fear that she had during her first season.
During her first season with pilot Jamie Gruebel Poser, Gibbs won two bronze medals. The two have won seven World Cup medals together, in total, including gold in Park City, Utah in November. That same month, Gibbs won silver in a World Cup event at Lake Placid, New York with Meyers Taylor.
“Lauren and I have a great dynamic,” Greubel Poser told USA Today on Nov. 18. “We hadn’t won a race together yet, so I think that was great confirmation for us that we’ve been training hard this summer and it’s coming together on the ice.”
Gibbs was recently picked to be a push athlete for pilot Meyers Taylor in PyeongChang.
Meyers Taylor and Gibbs will be in USA-1 for the 2018 Games and are the favorite among the Americans to medal. Together, they set a track start record of 5.11 seconds at the IBSF World Cup in Koenigssee, Germany en route to a bronze medal there. It was the last race before PyeongChang.
“My life has just come together in the most random way to get me where I am today, and I’m just honored,” Gibbs told USA Today. “It’s just things come together sometimes for the right time, and right now it’s happening and I hope it continues.”
The 2018 Winter Olympic Games will begin Feb. 9. Women’s bobsled competition begins on Feb. 20.
Feature Image Provided by USA Bobsled and Skeleton