Summer Series: Getting to know Austin Florian

June 29, 2018, 10:56 a.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.


Last season, skeleton athlete Austin Florian enjoyed a breakout season on the North American Cup tour, winning six medals en route to the circuit’s overall title. The 23-year-old former ski racer is one of Team USA’s most promising up-and-coming sliders.


Originally from Connecticut, Florian is living there this summer to work and train in preparation for a new Olympic Quad. USABS caught up with him to talk his skiing career, offseason plans and goals for next season.


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


AF: I grew up in Southington, Conn., and I've been ski racing almost my entire life. We ended up going and racing on the weekends up in New Hampshire and all throughout New England.


USABS: How did you get into skeleton?


AF:  I got into skeleton while I was attending Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y. I was on the Ski Team and we trained in Lake Placid. I just felt like giving skeleton a try because it looked like a lot of fun.


USABS: You transferred over from ski racing, which is not typical of most of our athletes. How did those skills transfer over to skeleton?


AF: I feel as though ski racing translates very well because the concept of driving is very similar to skiing a course and sort of planning ahead while being ready for anything to happen.


USABS: What are you up to this offseason?


AF: This offseason I’m working as an engineer in Connecticut and training on my own. I spend much of my off-time mountain biking and exploring around all of the trails around New England.


USABS: What is your favorite sliding memory?


AF: My favorite sliding memory has to be my first runs ever in St. Moritz last season. I always knew that it was going to be amazing, but it was more than I expected. The pure speed and how free you feel on the track is unlike anything else in the world. I can’t wait until the next time I get to go back.


USABS: You had a breakout season on the North American Cup this year. What was that experience like for you?


AF: This was by far my best season, and it went just about as well as I could have hoped. However, even though I met my goals and exceeded my expectations, it left me still wanting more, and I could not have thought of a better way to cap the season off. I would hope to see some time on some higher circuits this next year and potentially make it onto World Cup.


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


AF: I was an All-American ski racer in college and helped my team place in the top-three three times at National Championships throughout my college career.


Lightning Round


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


AF:  Japan, to go powder skiing.


USABS: Can you cook? If so, what’s your specialty?


AF:  I can cook… sometimes. Sometimes a box of mac and cheese will do. But I do make an awesome stir fry as long as you like very hot peppers.


USABS: What’s your favorite movie?


AF:  “Caddyshack.”


USABS: Which USABS athlete would you choose to be your trivia partner?


AF: Chris Strup. We may not get all of the answers right, but we would have the most fun.


USABS: Beach or mountains?


AF: Mountains.


Be sure to follow Florian on Twitter and Instagram @afloskiah!


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