Jamie Greubel Poser

Getty Images

USA Bobsled and Skeleton dismisses longtime CEO Darrin Steele

Leave a comment

USA Bobsled and Skeleton has fired CEO Darrin Steele, who oversaw teams that won nine Olympic medals and 12 world championship medals.

Steele will remain in place for about another month. The federation’s board of directors did not cite a specific reason for the change. Athletes were told in a conference call Tuesday night, and John Rosen will assume the CEO role on an interim basis until a permanent hire is made.

“This was a very difficult decision,” USABS board chair Bob Bergbauer said. “We are grateful for Darrin’s guidance, but the board feels it’s time for a fresh perspective as we head into the future.”

The news comes less than two months before the federation begins work for the coming season.

“Darrin did a great job and I’ll always appreciate everything he ever did for us,” USA Bobsled coach Mike Kohn said after the news was announced. “The thing about Darrin that a lot of people don’t understand is there’s a lot that goes on that people never know about, high-level things that take place that pave the way for people to be successful. That’s the thing Darrin was great about and great about helping me with.”

Steele was a two-time Olympic athlete in bobsled, and then took over as CEO in 2007. The U.S. sled driven by Steven Holcomb won four-man gold in Vancouver three years later, ending a 62-year drought for the Americans in bobsled’s signature race. Holcomb drove to two more medals at the Sochi Games in 2014, and U.S. women’s drivers Erin Pac, Elana Meyers Taylor (twice) and Jamie Greubel Poser all guided sleds to Olympic medals during Steele’s tenure as well. Noelle Pikus-Pace and Matt Antoine won Olympic skeleton medals, and for much of Steele’s tenure the federation enjoyed constant success.

But the last two years have been filled with one issue after another. Holcomb died in 2017, sending shock waves through the team and the entire federation. The bobsled and skeleton teams managed just one medal at the Pyeongchang Games in 2018, and last year’s World Cup season landed only eight medals — seven earned by the driving of Meyers Taylor, and the other a bronze in women’s skeleton by Kendall Wesenberg.

“I’m incredibly grateful for the past 12 years with USABS,” Steele said in a statement released by the federation. “I’ve been able to work with some amazing people and shared some incredible moments that I’ll never forget. I’m proud of the work we’ve done, and I wish the organization well as the baton is passed to the next federation leader.”

Steele is also a vice president for the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation, the sport’s governing body. He will remain in that role.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Jamie Greubel Poser, Olympic medalist, retires from bobsled

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jamie Greubel Poser, a 2014 Olympic bronze medalist, has retired from bobsled after two Winter Games and more than a decade in the sport.

“After taking some time to reflect, I’m incredibly proud and satisfied with everything I have accomplished in my career,” said Greubel Poser, who ended her career with a fifth-place finish in PyeongChang and is now teaching English at a school in Germany, where her Olympian husband is from. “Now, it feels like the right moment to begin the next chapter of my life.”

Greubel Poser, 34, converted to bobsled in 2007 after competing in the heptathlon and pentathlon at Cornell. She still holds school record scores and was inducted into its athletics Hall of Fame in 2016.

She began in bobsled as most do, as a brakewoman, and went to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics as an alternate.

“When I watched the Olympics Opening Ceremony and the Olympic bobsled competition, it really dawned on me for the first time that I really had a possibility of going to the Olympics,” she said. “I had been competing in the sport for two years, and I was doing it because I loved the competition, but in this moment I was really inspired, and it lit a fire for me to do whatever I could to make the Olympic team in four years.”

After switching to driving and overcoming a summer 2011 torn ACL playing soccer, she jumped to the top in the 2013-14 Olympic season.

Greubel Poser notched her first World Cup win as a driver, placed third in the World Cup standings and took bronze at the Sochi Games with brakewoman Aja Evans, also a former college track and field athlete (shot put).

“I think if you told me this, that I would get a medal here, now, I don’t think I would have believed you,” Greubel said that day in Russia.

Greubel Poser and gold and silver medalists Kaillie Humphries and Elana Meyers Taylor would regularly share podiums through the next Olympic cycle. Greubel Poser won the 2016-17 World Cup title by a mere 14 points by taking the last race at the PyeongChang Olympic track.

Her second Olympics didn’t go as hoped. Greubel Poser and Evans paired again and finished fifth, 13 hundredths shy of a medal.

“It’s a test of skill and it’s very challenging to do the same thing four times, and I did the best I could do,” Greubel Poser said after the last two runs of her career in South Korea. “I made a few mistakes, but I gave absolutely everything I had today, and I couldn’t have driven better.”

PyeongChang carried other significance for Greubel Poser.

“It would really be the trip of a lifetime for my family,” she said before the Games.

Greubel Poser competed at the Olympics in the same sport as her husband, German push athlete Christian Poser. They married in summer 2014 after meeting at a 2012 World Cup race and competing as an engaged couple in Sochi.

Her younger sister by 17 years, Elizabeth, was adopted from South Korea when Greubel Poser was in high school. Elizabeth flew to South Korea for the Games — her first time in her birth country since she was an infant — and watched her sister race in person for the first time.

“When I was first introduced to bobsled, I was drawn to the opportunity to be part of a team again and because I loved to compete,” Greubel Poser said. “I had no idea where it would eventually take me. It took me to the top of the world, and I certainly never imagined it would lead me to meeting my husband.”

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Russian bobsledder who tested positive in PyeongChang cleared

U.S. Olympic women’s bobsled team named; no Lolo Jones

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Sochi Olympic medalist drivers Elana Meyers Taylor and Jamie Greubel Poser and medalist push athlete Aja Evans headline the U.S. Olympic women’s bobsled team for PyeongChang.

Lolo Jones did not make the team.

Meyers Taylor, Greubel Poser and Evans are joined by Olympic rookie push athlete Lauren Gibbs to round out the team.

“Unfortunately, I did not make the Olympic Team but I’m pumped for @lagibbs84 to make her first Oly team and join returning vets @eamslider24 @JamieGreubel and @AjaLEvans,” was tweeted from Jones’ account minutes after the announcement. “They will rep USA very well.”

Jones, 35, was bidding to become the first American to compete in multiple Summer Olympics and multiple Winter Olympics.

She helped push Meyers Taylor to her first World Cup win this season earlier Saturday in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

Jones hasn’t won an Olympic medal, and this was likely her last chance.

Jones led the 2008 Olympic 100m hurdles final before hitting the penultimate hurdle and finishing seventh. She was fourth in the 2012 Olympic 100m hurdles, then 11th in the her Winter Olympic debut in 2014.

She overcame shoulder surgery (November 2014), hip surgery (October 2015, which ended up causing her to miss the July 2016 Olympic Track and Field Trials) and concussion symptoms from an October bobsled crash.

Gibbs, 33, competed in six of the seven World Cups this season.

Jones competed in just one of the first six, then re-entered a World Cup sled Saturday for the first time since Nov. 18.

Jones and other push athletes who missed out saw their chances diminish Saturday morning, when Canada joined Germany as the two nations to earn the maximum three sleds for PyeongChang.

The U.S., which had three sleds in 2010 and 2014, was narrowly edged by Canada in the final quota standings.

“Six push athletes have been battling it out week after week and winning medals on the World Cup circuit this year, but we only have two spots for the Games,” USA Bobsled CEO Darrin Steele said in a press release. “We don’t take this decision light-heartedly. The selection committee chose the athletes they think have the best chance of bringing home hardware from Korea for Team USA. I wish we could take the entire team with us because they’ve all proven how hard-working and determined they are in addition to being incredibly talented.”

Meyers Taylor, the first female bobsledder to make three U.S. Olympic teams, will pair with Gibbs in PyeongChang. They will try to dethrone Canadian Kaillie Humphries, who seeks her third straight Olympic title.

Meyers Taylor led Humphries after three of four runs in Sochi but dropped to second place with Lauryn Williams in the last run. Williams retired in 2015.

Greubel Poser and Evans will share a sled again, just as they did for bronze in Sochi and at last season’s world championships.

The alternate push athlete is Briauna Jones.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Would Usain Bolt make a good bobsledder?