Meet development bobsledder Venessa D'Arpino
University of Oregon graduate Venessa D'Arpino is a 2013 recognized Oregon Athlete of the Year. She holds several high school, college, and state records as a 400-meter runner, and she's a NCAA Track-and-Field All-American. Venessa traded in her singlet and spikes for a speed suit and helmet as she transitioned over to the ice as a bobsledder. She's now on track to reach her dream of becoming an Olympian.
Learn more about Venessa in our Q&A:
Q: How were you exposed to bobsled?
A: My senior year at The University of Oregon after transferring for Oregon State I qualified for the Team USA track and field meet in Iowa. During which I missed moving on to championship and an opportunity to qualify for the world championship team by two spots. Afterwards, I got a DM message from Michael Dionne asking if I would be interesting in trying out bobsled and skeleton. I was like, this is weird. I didn’t even know if it was a real thing. I didn’t know who the coach was for bobsled. Is this guy real or am I getting scammed? The rest is history
Q: What is one obstacle you've had to overcome to get to where you are?
A: Growing up I had a lot of chronic issues including intercostal neuralgia. At that point, doctors told me to quit sports, but that only pushed me to be better. I also had a herniated disc in my back. I would have never made it to where I am without the support of my family.
Q: Do you have a warm up routine? Music?
A: I have a playlist I use and do a lot of the same warm up from my tack and field days. I like to be alone and isolate myself before a run.
Q: What are you most proud of?
A: I'm most proud of sticking with the sport. I've dealt with a lot of tragedy including my grandfather being in the hospital. I showed up and improved every day. Medalling in a Park City, Utah North American Cup race in front of family and friends was one of my most fond memories so far.
Q: How will you further your success?
A: Keeping a positive mindset. Going into a race always thinking I'm going to win. I know failure comes with it, but I continue to learn and improve from it.
Q: How have you managed to stay driven with COVID 19?
A: I've moved home, have a home gym to use, and radiate positive energy. I can't live in fear if I want to succeed.
Q: Cheat Food?
A: Ice Cream, cake, and lasagna
Q: Life after skeleton?
A: Become a personal trainer and even own my own gym. I want to help others become their best self.
Q: Favorite athlete/sport?
A: Growing up, Mia Hamm was always an inspirational figure to me. I also got the opportunity to meet Alison Felix, who is down to earth and overall just so talented.
Q: Favorite place you've been?
A: St. Moritz, Switzerland was so beautiful and the natural track is truly incredible.
Q: One interesting thing about yourself?
A: I had an extra rib removed from my neck. Also, I have a twin sister and we are both dating another set of twins.