How and when did you decide to become a driver?
The timing of it was a little difficult. In 2006 I went through the whole season competing as a brakeman, traveled with the team. And that whole year I really just wanted to start driving. When I didn't make the Olympic team, my coaches decided to send me to Austria to bobsled school to learn how to drive. And it was a great decision.
Did you watch the Torino Games at all?
I didn't watch the bobsled event. I was actually working and chose not to watch it. And so I had someone call me and tell me what happened.
What about driving appealed to you?
The control. You know there's a lot of politics involved with being a brakeman and you don't always have a say about what you want to do. It just ended up being that becoming a driver was the best decision for me personally and it ended up working out very well.
How much does it help your speed to have been a push athlete?
I definitely have the background of pushing a sled, so I think that's helped me to make it as a driver. A driver who's able to push and who has someone fast behind is going to have fast starts. And those fast starts are what help you to get down the hill faster. So, without it I think it would take me a little bit longer to move up in the ranks.
Can you tell me a little bit about your experience on the Olympic track at the Whistler World Cup?
It definitely gives me a little confidence, after my first podium on the Whistler track. I actually crashed two days before the event and so it made me a little nervous. The track is very fast and very exciting and very scary at the same time. It still gave me confidence that even with mistakes, I still was able to do well. Hopefully leading into the Olympics I can do even better.
How big of an advantage will the Canadians have on the track?
I think they'll have a huge advantage, but that doesn't mean you should count anyone else out. Sometimes having too many runs can hurt you also.
The U.S. has two top drivers with you and Shauna Rohbock. How is hard it to juggle being both competitors and teammates?
We are both very different people and we try and stay to our own a lot of times. We are both competitors and I think that's just one of the best things that the U.S. could have, two teams that both want to win that medal.
How much is fear a daily reality in bobsled?
Always scared. But I think that's what keeps you going. If you weren't scared then you'd be too complacent and that's when mistakes happen. And crashes happen sometimes too because you get too comfortable. And it hasn't really happened to me yet. I'm not that comfortable with my driving to feel that way. But it's just one of those things that keeps you on your toes.
What is it like to crash?
You're kicking yourself in the butt. Pretty much just saying, ‘Why'd you do that?' or ‘Come on, this shouldn't happen.' Physically it's very scary because you're upside down or you're on your head and your shoulder and you're going 80-miles-an-hour plus. And the only thing that's protecting you is this fiberglass little shield. You can't really explain except it's almost like crashing in a car without a seatbelt and it's not fun.
How much preparation goes into this sport that people don't see?
Most of the time we're at the track for about five hours - that could start with our track walk, whenever we have sliding practice. We take care of our runners ourselves, the athletes do. And so with sanding before a race it takes an hour pretty much to do one runner to polish all the way down. We wax the sled. We take care of the sleds. Our mechanics help us to align our runners. Basically it could take a full day to get everything done.
How important is equipment?
The equipment is probably 90 percent of the race. I definitely believe that having the best equipment, the best runners for each track is very important. And then the push is that last 10 percent.
When you were young did you ever dream about being an Olympian? Did you imagine it would be in bobsled?
Considering I didn't really know what bobsledding was... I definitely had dreams of being an Olympian. I always thought it would be track and field or gymnastics, but definitely never in a winter sport. But, you know, this was my calling. And my grandfather was a ski jumper, so I think there's a little bit of the winter athlete in me through him.
Compiled by Lee Ann Gschwind, NBCOlympics.com
As the pilot for the USA-1 bobsled, I broke a 62-year gold medal drought when my sled, the 'Night Train" won the Olympic title at the 2010 Vancouver Games. A degenerative eye condition nearly caused me to quit my sport in 2008, but corrective surgery restored my vision to 20-20.