Summer Series: Getting to know Nicole Vogt

Aug. 17, 2018, 9:28 p.m. (ET)
 

Photo: Getty Images

 

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

by Mark Fairchild

 

Veteran slider Nicole Vogt is entering her eighth career season this fall. A native of Dallas, Texas, Vogt grew up playing a range of sports from volleyball to track, and was recruited to row for Kansas State University. In 2011, Vogt began her inaugural season in the America’s Cup and continues to progress each season as a driver.

USABS caught up with Vogt this summer as she carries on with her training for the upcoming Olympic Quad.

USABS: What is your athletic background?

NV: In high school I played volleyball, basketball, and track. I was a thrower and got recruited out of high school to row at Kansas State University, and I’d never rowed before, so that was a new experience. I red-shirted my freshman year, rowed the following four years, and then found bobsled my last semester of college. 

USABS: How did you get into bobsled?

NV: I saw, during the 2010 Olympics, Elana (Meyers Taylor) win the bronze medal with Erin Pac and the announcers were talking about how so many college athletes in the U.S. transition over to bobsled after they’re done with there collegiate career. I wasn’t ready to be done with sports so I looked it up online and sent in a sports resume and got invited to a try out, the rest is history.

USABS: Where was your combine?

NV: I went to Tulsa in the summer of 2010, took a combine and failed miserably, because rowers just don’t run, and half of the combine is running scores. I had a job in Dallas at an engineering firm straight out of school and trained for a year, learned how to run a little bit better, which is still a work in progress. Then I did the combine again in the summer of 2011 and did way better, got invited to push championships in 2011, and then I made the America’s Cup team as a brakeman. 

USABS: What was your first trip down the track like?

NV: I actually went to Utah in the winter of 2010, in between my two combines before I officially made the team, and just went out to Utah to try it. I went down with a guy who was just doing it for fun at the Utah Olympic Park and it was miserable– it was awful. He didn’t give me much instruction, there was no padding of any kind, I didn’t have a mouth guard, it was just overall not the greatest experience I’ve ever had, but I wanted to be in an Olympic sport so bad I was like, "I don’t even care, I’ll learn to like this, I’m going to make this happen."

USABS: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received during your career?

NV: It was from Bree Schaaf, after she had retired and she was taking us on a track walk and just said, “You know sometimes there’s so many distractions in our sport with politics, or with things outside of your control, other nations doing things." The best advice she ever gave was to say, “Just put the blinders on and focus on what you can control and don’t worry about all the things outside of your control, because it just distracts you.”

USABS: Outside of training, what are you doing this summer?

NV: I work full time during the summers at an engineering firm here in Dallas. I worked there two summers as an intern in college and then they hired me straight out of school. I worked there for about 18 months before I joined the bobsled team, and they have been super gracious and let me work part time and travel during the season, then I work full time during summers. I’ve been working full time since March and training here in Dallas. I also am just doing things with my friends and I’m pretty involved with my church during the weekends.

USABS: What do you hope to accomplish this upcoming season?

NV: My goal is to make the USA Bobsled National Team like everyone’s goal is, and compete in world championships, and do well. It’s always different the first year of a quad. This will be my eighth year on the team and the second time I’ve been around after an Olympics. The first year after the quad is its own animal and also the second year, then during the pre-Olympic year and the Olympic year everything is really ramped up for the Olympics. This year will be a lot of transition, a lot of new faces. We have a change to the coaching staff, and I'm looking forward to seeing how the culture of our team changes. It will be very exciting to see.

Lightning round:

USABS: Out of all the destinations you’ve been able to compete, which is your favorite?

NV: St. Moritz. We did a club race there while we were training and that was so much fun. I think just because it’s magical and it’s St. Moritz. 

USABS: What passions do you have outside of sliding?

NV: I’m a foodie for sure. I love to cook and bake. I’m always trying recipes. I am very involved with my church and also reading is one of my favorite past times.

USABS: What are your favorite foods to eat during the season?

NV: You get creative. I love Thai food in particular, Italian, and Mexican, those are my three favorite cuisines, so finding recipes for those cuisines or making them healthy, it’s been a challenge and has been very enjoyable for me.

USABS: If you could pick a superpower, what would it be?

NV: I think flying would be pretty spectacular, or tele-transportation, one of the two, so that way I would be where I want to be and be done.

USABS: If you were a brand, what would be your motto?

NV: ‘Expect the impossible,’ or ‘Don’t quit.’