LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Jamie Greubel Poser is on fire this season.
On a sunny day in the Adirondacks, the Olympic bronze-medal-winning bobsled pilot won her first world cup on her home track in Lake Placid. It her 15th world cup medal of any color and career-third gold medal.
She dedicated her win to Malcolm “Gomer” Lloyd, a British bobsledder and four-time Olympian who passed away at age 68 earlier this week. Lloyd had become a coach and worked with Greubel Poser when she first became a bobsled pilot.
“It’s an amazing feeling to win at home,” Greubel Poser said, “especially during such an emotional weekend. The entire bobsled community is here right now. I think that’s a major tribute to Gomer and his life and how much he contributed to the bobsled community, and how he literally brought everyone from all nations together.”
With third-place finishes in the other two world cups so far this season, and her first win on a German track before the holidays, Greubel Poser currently sits second in the standings. She is only 10 points behind two-time defending Olympic gold medalist Kaillie Humphries from Canada, who finished second today.
Rounding out the podium was Christina Hengster and Sanne Monique Dekker from Austria.
Pushing Greubel Poser was world champion brakewoman Cherrelle Garrett, who moved to Greubel Poser’s sled after reigning world champion pilot Elana Meyers Taylor stepped back from the world cup tour last month to recuperate from concussion symptoms.
In last year’s Lake Placid World Cup, Garrett helped Meyers Taylor set the start and track records.
Paired with 32-year-old Greubel Poser, Garrett again jetted the sled off the start line, and the twosome came within 0.06 seconds of the start record on both runs, even after Greubel Poser slipped at the start of their first run.
When asked if she can win in any sled, Garrett laughed and quietly whispered, “You know what, I’m starting to believe that! I don’t want to jinx myself though.”
“I just hope that any sled that I’m in, we have a victory,” she continued more seriously, then added with another laugh, “It feels good to win!”
Greubel Poser has been on the podium — with either Garrett or Lauren Gibbs, who did not compete today, or Lauryn Williams, who retired — in every world cup race since she crashed last January on the Koenigssee, Germany, track and didn’t finish. The crash wasn’t a turning point though. She simply was getting used to new coaches, making last season a transition year.
For several years, she was coached by Todd Hayes. Now she is working with Brian Shimer and Sepp Plozza.
“The information that I take in, I really take it literally,” she explained. “So I had adapted to learning with (Hayes), and it was a bit of a transition year getting used to working with two new driving coaches. They were telling me all the same information. I was just used to hearing it one way.”
This year, the new coaching has clicked. Her goal is to remain consistently on the podium. But now she has even higher expectations.
“I want to win races, but I also want to slide track records,” she said. “Your expectations for yourself just get really high (the longer you are in the sport). The sport is always a challenge, so that’s part of why I love it.”
In their fastest run today, she and Garrett were 0.27 seconds off the track record set by Meyers Taylor and Garrett last year.
A sprinter at the University of California-Berkeley, Garrett only started bobsledding three years ago. But she credited bobsled’s track celebrities, Lolo Jones and Lauryn Williams, with raising her level.
“It made me want it more to see what they were doing, and the success they had, to come out here and do it and beat their times,” Garrett said.
While Jones and Williams are primarily known for their accomplishments in track, Garrett wants to shine in bobsled.
“You always want more,” she said. “I'm eager for more.”
A freelance writer based in Vermont, Peggy Shinn has covered three Olympic Games. She has contributed to TeamUSA.org since its inception in 2008.