U.S. bobsled driver Brittany Reinbolt was in Nepal on April 25 and described experiencing a 7.8-magnitude earthquake that killed at least 7,000 people as “one of the most violent experiences” of her life in a first-person story on TeamUSA.org.
Reinbolt, a 31-year-old who earned four medals on the North American Cup last season, wrote that she flew to Nepal for April to visit a younger sister who lived there.
She said she was sitting on a church floor with “about 50 other Nepali people” about 20 miles from the epicenter when the earth shook, followed by “30 seconds that felt like an eternity.”
Then everyone started getting anxious and saying something, I simply thought that the sermon was finished and everyone was praying (in Nepali churches everyone prays out loud at the same time). Suddenly my sister looked at me with fear in her eyes and translated, “Earthquake!” The small earth rumbles that everyone had heard approaching quickly turned into one of the most violent experiences of my life. It was as if the entire world was riding inside the back of a bobsled. In an instant, I grabbed my sister by the arm and began to sprint through the people toward the exit of the building. When we got to the back of the building the sliding garage-like door was falling shut and a few people were trying to crawl under it, kind of like something Indiana Jones would do. But, in perfect unison, my sister and I grabbed the door and pulled it up over our heads.
Reinbolt, a former college sprinter and pole vaulter and U.S. national football team player, said she became an earthquake refugee, living in fields and experiencing “nearly 100 aftershocks.” She returned to the U.S. after six post-earthquake days in Nepal.