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‘I want to give back to the next generation of athletes’

Olympic bronze medallist Jamie Greubel Poser tells why she was so keen to be an Athlete Role Model (ARM) at the upcoming Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Lausanne 2020.

American bobsledder Jamie Greubel Poser – who won a bronze medal at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 – will be among the team of ARMs who will be on-hand during the Winter YOG Lausanne 2020, offering support and advice to the 1,880 young athletes who will be participating in the Games.

Here, the 35-year-old, who also won a bronze medal at the 2017 IBSF World Championships before retiring in October 2018 to work as an elementary teacher in Germany, reveals why she wanted to be part of the ARM programme, and what she will be sharing with the young athletes in Lausanne this January.

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How excited are you about going to Lausanne as an ARM?

“I'm super excited. I am just really honoured to have the opportunity to get involved in the sport again. It has been such a big part of my life for the past decade. I'm teaching now and I love what I'm doing, but I'm really looking forward to staying connected to the sport and being able to give back to the next generation of athletes.”

Why did you want to be part of the ARM programme?

“I wasn't sure how I was going to stay involved in the sport after I retired, but I definitely wanted to. So when I was approached with the opportunity to get involved with the YOG, it just was the perfect way for me to get that started. Getting into teaching has been a complete life change and has taken a lot of time and attention to get settled again in my new career. But I just think that this is the perfect opportunity for me to connect again with the sport that I love so much, and I'm just really grateful for the opportunity.”

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How much did you know about the YOG beforehand?

I knew a little bit about it because some athletes on my team had competed in the YOG in the past. But I'm really excited to learn more about it now and to be part of this opportunity, because I think it's a great way for younger athletes to get a taste of the opportunities that come later in the sport.”

What do you think the ARMs can offer to the young athletes during the YOG?

“I think it's really important to share the knowledge that we have as ARMs with the younger generation because, in general, the sliding sports are challenging sports to find your way in and they require a lot of self-funding and coming up with your own resources. So I think sharing that sport-specific knowledge that we've gained through our experiences in the sport can be incredibly helpful for the younger athletes, who are just starting off in the sport. The more that we can share from our experiences, hopefully the less time it will take them to figure out the same information that we had to figure out over our years in the sport.”

Did you have role models who you looked up to when you were starting out in the sport?

“Definitely. I would say that having people to look up to was pretty much the main reason I stayed in this sport. At the very beginning, the first time that I went down the track, I thought I would never come back. It's a very intense sport; it's unlike any other sport that I ever competed in. But having role models and seeing the incredible women who competed in the sport, who made it fun, who lifted these heavy sleds and who woke up early and were out in the cold; they were just very impressive to me, and it gave me something to look up to and know that, ‘Hey, I can do this’.”

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What would you say to your younger self if you could go back and offer some advice?

“You can never go back and change the way that things went, but I think it took me a couple [of] years to realise what an incredible opportunity I had in front of me. I was drawn back to bobsled because of my love of competing and sports. But it took me a year or two to even realise that I had the opportunity to train for a sport and go to the actual Olympic Games. So I think I would just say to my younger self to follow your heart and your passion for sports, and it's going to lead you on an incredible journey that you could never imagine.”

What would you say to the young athletes who are currently preparing for Lausanne 2020?

“I would say that they're incredibly lucky to have this opportunity, and that going to these Games will be incredibly inspiring. I would just tell them to enjoy every minute and every moment, and just take it all in. Be confident in their preparation and enjoy the competition. They shouldn’t do anything differently in their preparation just because the YOG are coming up; they just need to do everything that they have always been doing to prepare. At the end of the day, they know their sport and they just need to stick to their routine and be confident in their routine. If they do that, then they’re going to be great.”

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