Summer Series: Getting to know Josh Williamson

April 20, 2018, 12:34 p.m. (ET)

Photo: Getty Images.

 

To kick off the 2022 Olympic quad, USA Bobsled & Skeleton is speaking with a potential 2022 Olympic athlete each week to get to know more about their careers, personalities and outside interests.


Lake Mary, Fla. native Josh Williamson hadn’t given bobsled much thought until he tried out for the United States Olympic Committee’s show “Scouting Camp: The Next Olympic Hopeful” last summer.


One year later, he has traveled to South Korea for a test event on the 2018 Olympic track, pushed in his first World Cup competition, raced in his first Junior World Championships, and found a passion for a sport he knew little about before winning “The Next Olympic Hopeful.”


In addition to his budding bobsled career, Williamson, a former lacrosse player at Mercer University, currently attends Florida State University. The 21-year-old is spending the summer training at East Tennessee State University before trying for his first national team berth in the fall.


USABS caught up with Williamson as he begins his offseason training in Tennessee to talk about his whirlwind first year in the sport.


USABS: You come from a lacrosse background, which is different than most of our athletes. Can you talk a little bit about your athletic background and how it prepared you for bobsled?


JW: I basically trained like an outside linebacker my entire high school career to prepare me to play defense in lacrosse. By training mostly with Olympic lifting and a lot of sprinting, the basics of my training were pretty similar to my bobsled training now.


USABS: What was "The Next Olympic Hopeful" like? How did you end up involved in the show?


JW: The Next Olympic Hopeful was an amazing experience. I was able to test in a USABS combine at the beautiful facilities of the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. I met some amazing athletes and learned a ton. I ended up involved through a tryout at my local 24 Hour Fitness.


USABS: What attracted you to bobsledding?


JW: I initially followed a lot of guys on the team on Instagram because I liked how heavy they were lifting. Once I looked into why they were all bobsled athletes, I found out I potentially could be a good fit for the sport.


USABS: What were some of the biggest challenges transitioning into a new sport?


JW: Just trying my best to overcome the inevitable learning curve as quickly as possible. I enjoyed the entire process this year, though. Every day I learned something and every day I got to look forward to getting some valuable advice from the veterans and coaches in the program. I can’t ask for more than the opportunity to improve every day.


USABS: You were able to accomplish a ton in your rookie season. What was the experience like for you?


JW: It was a huge blessing for me to be so involved my rookie year. It helped me learn lot and introduced me to some amazing people and places. All around, it was a fantastic experience for me and set me up well for the years to come.


USABS: Do you have a favorite memory from the season?


JW: Probably my favorite memory this season was getting to be a part of [USA Bobsled] National Push Championships a week after the filming of “Scouting Camp: Next Olympic Hopeful.” After following most of the guys on the team on social media and looking up to all of them for so long, it was pretty surreal to meet them all and see them compete. I learned a ton and tried my best to try to keep up while competing, but it really felt like I was a kid meeting his heroes. It was definitely something I will never forget.


USABS: What are you up to this offseason?


JW: This offseason, I’ll be training all summer at the Olympic Training Site in Johnson City, Tenn. I’m excited to be around some extremely knowledgeable coaches and learn from some great athletes here.


USABS: What is something that fans of the sport might not know about you?


JW: Before this year, I had never left the country. Needless to say I checked a few of those boxes off my bucket list this year!


Lighting Round:


USABS: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?


JW: I would travel to New Smyrna Beach, Fla.


USABS: What is your favorite food?


JW: A large, thick cut of medium rare steak.


USABS: What do you want to do after your bobsled career is over?


JW: I’d love to go into either coaching, or some kind of career in sports marketing.


USABS: If you could pick one superpower, which would you pick?


JW: To push a bobsled faster than anyone else!


USABS: What are you currently binge-watching?


JW: I’m currently binge watching "Mad Men" on Netflix.


Be sure to follow Williamson on Twitter @josh_williams24 and Instagram @josh_williamson!


Kristen Gowdy, USABS Marketing and Media Assistant, kristen.gowdy@usabs.com, (719) 722-0522