Summer Series: Getting to know Kellie Delka

June 07, 2018, 3:43 p.m. (ET)

 

Photo: Molly Choma

  

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.


Originally from Texas, skeleton athlete Kellie Delka found her way to the ice by way of a combine in Dallas. This past season, she competed on the European Cup, but has also raced on the Intercontinental Cup Circuit in her international career, which began on the North American Cup in 2012.


Delka attended the University of North Texas, where she competed in track and field and was a cheerleader. She most recently finished ninth at the 2018 USA Skeleton National Championships.


USABS caught up with Delka as she trains for the first year of a new Olympic Quad.


USABS: Where did you grow up and what sports did you play as a kid?


KD: I grew up in a small town, Collinsville, about an hour north of Dallas. I played all sports as a kid and through high school — Peewee football, basketball, volleyball, softball, powerlifting, cheerleading, and track and field.


USABS: How did you get into skeleton?


KD: I saw Johnny Quinn actually post a lot about bobsled back in 2011 on Facebook. I asked a few questions about it, and I decided to give it a go at the Dallas combine that year. I've been here ever since.


USABS: Two summers ago, you and your dad built a push track in your backyard. Can you talk a little bit about that process and how it's helped you?


KD: We did! Mostly my Dad, but I did help. It was definitely a  process but we got it done, and it works so great. Although pushing on a dry track isn't quite the same as ice, it helps when you want to maybe try a different start position or work on the loading aspect of the start. Just training and being able to practice running in that position helps so much going into the beginning of the season


USABS: What are you up to this offseason?


KD: Lots of training at the track and in the weight room. I'm fortunate enough to train full-time and give myself the proper recovery I need. But I also find ways to make money, whether its picking up jobs or setting up fundraisers. My parents are great in that they support me and let me live at home during this adventure and dream of mine. And of course, I'm enjoying and soaking up all the Texas sun and eating all the Mexican food.


USABS: What do you wish people knew about your sport?


KD: That we aren’t bobsledders or lugers. I wish people knew how much of our time we dedicate and the financial burden it has on the athletes. We will all spend close to 10 years or more in this sport, and it's a huge sacrifice. It's not a vacation like most think.


USABS: What is your favorite sliding memory?


KD: Oh, there are too many. One is Alex Ivanov and Kevin McGlade in driving school. They literally looked at their toes from under the sled during sliding. They kept their head dowm, so it wasn't technically wrong though.


Another was this past season in La Plagne. First run down, it massacred everyone. Trust me, they know. I probably lost five years of my life. It was fantastic.


The last one would have to be Alex [Ivanov] and Steve [Garbett] driving to the wrong Winterberg when we were traveling there for competition.


USABS: What is the best piece of advice you've received?


KD: Stay happy and always believe. If you find no happiness in what you do, you should really reevaluate what you are doing. And I think that you should always believe in yourself, no matter how bad or rough it gets. If you can’t believe in yourself, then no one else should either. You may be all you’ve got. I'll always be that for myself and be my friends’ biggest fan in the sport and in life.


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


KD: Winter is my least favorite season, by far. Summer and sun is where I thrive. I love to train in 100+ degree weather, it's the best. But if I could slide year round, I would stay in the winter to do so.


I'm one of the few athletes that take more than three runs a day if time allows. You’ve got to get all the runs! I also like to sew. I'm making some clothes and swimwear at the moment. Maybe I'll have my own little boutique one day.


Lightning round:


USABS: When you've been out of the country on tour, what is the first thing you want to eat when you get back to the States?


KD: Chips and salsa.


USABS: Which USABS athlete would you want as your trivia partner?


KD: Meg Henry, my soulmate.

 

USABS: What is your dream job (besides skeleton)?


KD: Oh, totally a paleontologist. I love me some dinosaurs and fossils. I have a rock collection somewhere.


USABS: Dogs or cats?


KD: Dogs! Lucy my chihuahua is my life. Cats are cool, too. They are like silent ninjas.


USABS: If you could meet anyone (living or dead) who would you choose?


KD: I would like to meet the Ancient Maya. They were one of the most important and most developed ancient civilizations to exist on Earth.


Be sure to follow Delka on Twitter @KDelka and Instagram @Jellie_Deska!


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