Jamie Greubel Poser is a two-time Olympian and 2014 Olympic bronze medalist in bobsled. Also a 2017 world championships bronze medalist, Greubel Poser is one of three U.S. women’s pilots to own both Olympic and world medals. She also claimed 27 career world cup medals before retiring in 2018. Currently serving as an Athlete Role Model at the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020 in Switzerland, Greubel Poser wrote a letter to her younger self, reflecting on her journey in sport and life.
Dear younger Jamie,
You are never going to believe what I am going to tell you! However, in a way, I don’t think you will be surprised either. Deep in your heart, the fire has already starting burning. The passion, the drive, the competitiveness; it is already there. It will take you beyond your wildest dreams. So, my young, naive self—hang on for the ride of your life!
Life, as you have experienced already, is full of ups and downs. For you, the highs are really high and the lows can be devastatingly low. At a very young age, it all began. You were dealt a raw deal by losing your mom at only 3 years old, and it’s something that will always be a hard and complicated part of your life. You are fortunate, however, to have an incredible dad and family and you will continue to be surrounded by amazing people at all stages of your life who are kind and supportive and become like family. They have your back.
Sport, as you already know, is your passion, your spirit, and it will significantly influence the path of your life. It will allow you to travel and experience the world, learn a new language (you speak German now!), compete at the highest level in sport, make lifelong friends and find love. In your sports career, you will also experience highs and lows. Things won’t always go your way, but this will continue to build your character and grit.
Over time, you became a fighter. Someone who is fierce, resilient and strong, yet forgiving and kind. You have learned the value of hard work and setting goals. These traits will help you throughout your whole life. I never said it was going to be easy, but remember, if you want to do something, you have what it takes to achieve it. The question is, how badly do you want it and what and how much are you willing to sacrifice to get there?
Deep inside, you believe in yourself, but you are also your toughest critic. Although this will be a catalyst for your determination and success, it will sometimes be a hindrance. This is something you could improve on; so, if I could give you some advice, don’t be so hard on yourself and have more confidence! You are already doing an amazing job.
As an athlete you will experience many sports and different teams, and you will need to learn what it means to train and compete at an elite level. This takes dedication, focus, a commitment to your goals and also sacrifice. Your path is a unique one, and you won’t find out until a lot later that you have the potential to compete at the Olympic Games. Many people begin this journey directly at a young age. Your whole life and all of your experiences are building you up for this, even when you don’t know it!
Luckily, there will be people in your life at critical moments who see your potential before you realize it and help steer you down successful paths in new sports. These new experiences will be some of the best moments of your life! These may seem strange at the time, but remember to keep an open mind and be thankful for these new opportunities.
Jamie Greubel and Aja Evans compete in women's bobsled at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 on Feb. 19, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.
If I have learned anything, it’s that life is an ever-evolving journey for you. It’s ok that you are still figuring it all out. Always remember to believe in yourself and follow your heart. It is no one else’s life and journey except your own, so trust your decisions and do the things that motivate you and give you joy.
Your accomplishments or results in a competition do not define your worth, although sometimes that is how it will feel. Remember, you cannot control the outcome of a competition, but you can control how you prepare for it. If you have no regrets in your preparation, at the end of the day you can take comfort in the fact that you gave your best. Accomplishments are the result of hard work and putting yourself in a position to achieve success; however, there is also an element of luck.
You will be asked many times to reflect on what you want your legacy to be. This always felt like a difficult question to answer, imagining everything from the other side. Now, after all these years, and that your competitive sports career has come to an end, it finally feels like you have the experience, perspective and the right to reflect on this.
Yours is a legacy of perseverance, determination and achievement. You started from nothing and worked incredibly hard to make your dreams happen. You have overcome failure, bobsled crashes and career-threatening injuries. You have also scored game-winning goals, been the captain of different teams, set records, won championships, represented your country proudly at two Olympic Games and brought home an Olympic medal.
More importantly, though, than any of these accomplishments, you want to be remembered for the person you are, the kind and fierce competitor, and how hard you worked and how you treated others with kindness and respect while you were chasing your dreams. This is what you will try to inspire in the next generation!
So be proud and confident on the road less traveled.
And lastly, in case you sometimes forget: you are loved, and you are enough!
Your older self