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Vonetta Flowers Interview

By: Simon

Vonetta Flowers races a 450 pound sled down an icy track at 90 miles per hour. At the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, the speedy bobsled racer made history by becoming the first black athlete to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics. She talked to Kidzworld about her need for speed, how she trains for a race and her chances of winning a gold medal again in 2006!

Simon: You're from Alabama, which isn't exactly a center for winter sports. How did you get started in bobsled racing?
Vonetta Flowers: I had always dreamed of competing in the Olympics in track and field. After I missed out on qualifying for the 2000 Olympics in the long jump and 100 meter dash, my husband spotted a flyer looking for people to tryout in bobsled for the 2002 Olympic Team. I didn't really know a thing about bobsled, except from the movie Cool Runnings, but I tried out for the team and I made it. The next thing I knew I was traveling around the world with the bobsled team and off to the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Simon: What was it like to win a gold medal?
Vonetta Flowers: It was such a thrill and just a dream come true. Ever since I was nine and learned the national anthem, I'd thought about hearing it played after I won a gold. I just never thought it would be in a sport like bobsledding. I felt so thankful and great to be on the podium with the USA written on my jacket.

Simon: How do you train for bobsled racing?
Vonetta Flowers: I'm the pusher, so my job is to get the sled going at the beginning of the race. Speed and power are the most important things. When I first started I had good speed from my background in track and field, but I really needed to work on my strength because a bobsled is 450 pounds. So I worked a lot lifting weights and doing squats. You need to be strong to push the sled and have speed to jump in the sled once it's going.

Simon: What do you like most about bobsled racing?
Vonetta Flowers: Racing is just such a great adrenaline rush. I love the competition, I love the speed and it's fun to travel around the world to compete.

Simon: Do you feel any pressure going into the 2006 Winter Olympics as the defending gold medalist?
Vonetta Flowers: I'm very excited. I feel faster and stronger and I have a new driver, Jean Prahm, who I'm excited to being going to the Olympics with. There's usually more pressure on the driver in bobsled but it's a team sport. If I'm healthy and keep going in the right direction, anything can happen. I'm just going to go over and do the best I can.

Simon: How can a kid like me start bobsled racing?
Vonetta Flowers: Well unfortunately, you have to wait until you're out of high school to start bobsled racing, because of age requirements. But racers come from all backgrounds. Track and field really helped me, while other racers have been football players or come from other sports. But speed and strength are really important.

Vonetta Flowers - Fast Facts

  • Vonetta Flowers has twin boys named Jaden Michael and Jorden Maddox.
  • Vonetta's favorite athlete as a kid was US Olympic track star, Jackie Joyner-Kersee.
  • Vonetta is a judge in the DHL U.S. Olympic Spirit Cards Contest. Kids ages 8 to 12 can enter the contest by creating a "Spirit Card", an original card that shows the meaning of the Olympic Spirit. Winners will have their cards displayed at the US Olympic village in Turin, Italy and will have a chance to meet US Olympic athletes. For more info head to, click here.
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Favorite Winter Olympic Sport?

  • Figure Skating.
  • Ice Hockey.
  • Snowboarding.
  • Skiing.

Sports In The Forums

unicornsrule626
"rainbowpoptart" wrote:I hate to be that person who pulls out the dictionary, buuuuut let's look at the definitions for sport (athleticism wise).competitive physical activity: an individual or group competitive activity involving physical exertion or skill, governed by rules, and sometimes engaged in professionallyDoes cheerleading fit under this definition? Yes.pastime: an active pastime participated in for pleasure or exercise Oh look, cheerleading fits under this definition too.Being a cheerleader requires a certain amount of physical fitness. You need to be strong, flexible, and energetic, which are all things not everyone has.It is a form of exercise and entertainment.It is a sport.Is one variant more challenging than the other? Yes, but that does not devalue anything.Not everyone is going to be able to understand the difficulties cheerleaders go through, and that's perfectly fine. Every sport is dangerous, some are just more obvious than others. When people are good at what they do, they make things seem easy. very well said! I was a cheerleader for 2 years until  I aged out, but let ,e tell you, they were 2 of the best,sweaty and most fun years I have ever had
reply about 2 hours
rainbowpoptart
I hate to be that person who pulls out the dictionary, buuuuut let's look at the definitions for sport (athleticism wise). competitive physical activity: an individual or group competitive activity involving physical exertion or skill, governed by rules, and sometimes engaged in professionally Does cheerleading fit under this definition? Yes. pastime: an active pastime participated in for pleasure or exercise  Oh look, cheerleading fits under this definition too. Being a cheerleader requires a certain amount of physical fitness. You need to be strong, flexible, and energetic, which are all things not everyone has. It is a form of exercise and entertainment. It is a sport. Is one variant more challenging than the other? Yes, but that does not devalue anything. Not everyone is going to be able to understand the difficulties cheerleaders go through, and that's perfectly fine. Every sport is dangerous, some are just more obvious than others. When people are good at what they do, they make things seem easy.
reply about 2 hours
angelover4
CHEERLEADING IS LIKE DANCE GYMNASTICS MIXED TOGETHER WITH WORDS. AND DANCE AND GYMNASTICS ARE CONSIDERED SPORTS.
reply about 4 hours
angelover4
I BELIVE ITS A SPORT JUST LIKE I THINK GYMNASTICS IS A SPORT.
reply about 4 hours
angelover4
I BEL ITS A SPORT JUS TLIKE I THINK GYMNASTICS IS A SPORT.
reply about 4 hours