Olympic Medalist Erin Pac Retires

Nov. 11, 2010, 9:41 p.m. (ET)

Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager
(518) 354-2250, abird@usbsf.com

For Immediate Release
November 11, 2010

Olympic Medalist Erin Pac Retires

LAKE PLACID, N.Y.- Erin Pac (Farmington, Conn.) shocked her teammates by announcing her retirement from the sport of women’s bobsled tonight after a successful eight-year career.

 “My heart was in a different place entering the season,” said Pac.  “The drive I had four years ago wasn’t there.  I never intended to retire now, but it’s been a really hard month.  It’s been a lot harder than I thought it would be. I have a future outside of the sport, and I know I’m going to be fine.”

Pac won the women’s bobsled 2010 Olympic bronze medal with push athlete Elana Meyers on the harrowing course in Whistler, British Columbia last February, solidifying herself in history as one of the best pilots in the world. 

“The experience of the Olympics is something I’ve talked about since I was a little girl,” said Pac.  “I can’t pinpoint one moment that has been the best, because it was the experience that culminated from eight years of my career that made it so rewarding.”

Pac began the sport of bobsled as a push athlete in 2002, and immediately joined the World Cup team to push for drivers like 2002 Olympic gold medalist Jill Bakken and 2006 Olympic silver medalist Shauna Rohbock. 

“Erin was a huge part of the federation’s success, and she will definitely be missed,” said Rohbock. “She pushed me to be a better competitor and she’s such a hard worker.  It’s really sad that she’s leaving.”

After Pac narrowly missed making the 2006 Olympic team, she moved into the driver’s seat to try her hands at navigating a sled.

“I’m thankful I had the opportunity to move into the driver’s seat,” said Pac.  “If I had made the Olympic team in 2006, I’m not sure I would have continued in the sport.  Everything happens for a reason, and it motivated me to make it as a driver.  Coaches Sepp and Francoise Plozza and Bill Tavares helped me so much along the way, and it happened so fast.”

Just one year after learning the ropes, Pac was driving on the World Cup circuit.  Pac quickly climbed in international ranking, and just three years into her driving career she was an Olympic medalist.

“I’m shocked I was able to do this in four years,” said Pac.  “It’s amazing that I’ve had this experience, and it will always be a moment that belongs to me and Elana for the rest of our lives.  That’s really special.” 

Pac’s explosive power at the starting line combined with her driving skills made her an immediate threat for the podium. Pac found herself on the World Championship roster in her second season driving, where she finished eighth in St. Moritz, Switzerland against the best in the world.  She was on the fast track heading towards the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. 

“Erin is the model of how quickly a pilot with a great push can move up and be a contender for the Games,” said Darrin Steele, U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation CEO.  “Just like these athletes were inspired by the success of Shauna Rohbock and Valerie Fleming in 2006, Erin has now inspired the emerging elite drivers to follow in her footsteps.  Shauna and Erin started the evolution of world-class push athletes becoming pilots, which makes Erin vital to our program’s success.  We’re going to see the effect of her success for the next eight years.”

After the Olympic medal ceremony, Pac admired her shiny new prize with astonishment. Eight months later she returned to Lake Placid, N.Y. for the start of the 2010-2011 season with a different kind of prize; a diamond engagement ring.

Pac’s fiancé, Peter Blumert, popped the question the week before she left for Lake Placid, and the couple will be married on the Mexican Riviera on April 29.  Pac and Blumert met while bobsledding and have been dating for five and a half years.

“Peter and I talked a lot about whether or not I’d come back to sliding,” said Pac. “I came back because I didn’t want to have any regrets.  I’m still a good athlete and I know I can still drive a sled. I was unsure of how I’d feel and how I was going to do.  Traveling, the day-to-day process of sliding and training and working out; I just wasn’t as happy as I thought I would be.  I’m looking forward to the next step in my life now.”

Pac’s sled was named “Pinkie” for its pink flames along the side, and Pac superstitiously needed to have something pink in the sled on race day.  Even if it was a piece of hot pink duct tape around a handle or a streak of pink in her hair, Pac became synonymous with pink.  Some things won’t change outside of bobsledding; Pac’s bridesmaids will be wearing bubblegum pink dresses, and her maid of honor will be wearing a hot pink dress.

An avid chef, Pac has dabbled with the idea of opening a restaurant with Blumert.  One of her favorite meals to make is balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper Brussels sprouts with grilled chicken and sweet potatoes.  She can make pulled pork, steak, chicken of any variety, and has a goal to make a potato pancake dry mix recipe.

“If it’s God’s will to open my own place, I would love that,” said Pac.  “I am relying on Him to direct my path.”

She has also considered pursuing public speaking, and maintains a blog on her website at www.pacusabobsled.com, where she plans on updating fans of her future plans.

For media inquiries, please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager, at abird@usbsf.com, or at (518) 354-2250.  Follow the team on the USBSF Twitter page at http://twitter.com/USBSF, or on the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation Facebook group page.  Watch athlete interviews and check out the action on the abirdbobsled YouTube channel.

About the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation
The United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, based in Lake Placid, N.Y., is the national governing body for the sports of bobsled and skeleton in the United States. The USBSF would like to thank its sponsors, suppliers and contributors for their support: BMW Group, Under Armour, Vilter Manufacturing, Kampgrounds of America, KBC Helmets, EDAS/Ripxx, Tesa Tape and Ferris Mfg. Corp. In addition, the USBSF supports the following charitable causes: American Cancer Society, Autism Speaks, National Breast Cancer Foundation, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Muscular Dystrophy Association and Seattle Children’s Hospital. For more information, please visit the USBSF website at http://bobsled.teamusa.org.