Sports

Lauren Gibbs ’06 goes for gold

Gibbs to compete in the women’s bobsled event at the Pyeongchang Games, first career Olympics

By
Senior Staff Writer
Friday, January 26, 2018

Lauren Gibbs ’06 did not begin her athletic career on ice, but next month, she will represent Team USA as she competes at the 2018 Winter Olympics in women’s bobsled.

Upon receiving the news of her ticket to Pyeongchang, Gibbs felt “disbelief.”

“It’s incredible to work towards a goal for four years and achieve it,” she wrote in an email to The Herald.

Gibbs began her bobsled career in 2014 after a friend mentioned an open tryout. As she told Brown Athletics, a strong performance at the combine that year earned her an invitation to a weeklong camp where she finished with the fastest time. Gibbs first made the national team during the 2014-15 season and has maintained that spot ever since. The 2018 Games will be Gibbs’ first Olympic experience.

But Gibbs’ career has not always been smooth sledding. An adductor injury during the 2015-16 season hampered her summer training and set Gibbs back at the beginning of the season but did not stop her from staying on the national team and competing at the elite level.

Though she is still relatively new to bobsledding, Gibbs has already amassed an impressive collection of hardware. In addition to her 11 World Cup medals, she also won bronze at the 2016 World Championships in Igls, Austria.

Gibbs’ athletic accomplishments date back to her time at Brown where she found success on the volleyball court.

“I was originally recruited for track and field,” she wrote. “When speaking to the coach, I didn’t want to do two seasons. I felt like it would be too much with school work. I was playing volleyball at the time as well, so I sent my recruiting tape to (former head coach) Diane Short. She liked what she saw and invited me for a visit. It was love at first sight.”

Gibbs was a three-year starter for the Bears and gained Second Team All-Ivy recognition in 2004 and 2005. With 1,090 career kills, she ranks fourth all-time in Brown volleyball history. She also earned Academic All-Ivy honors during her senior season.

While on College Hill, Gibbs learned that she “could do it all as long as I was willing to be dedicated to the things that mattered” and credits her work ethic and time management skills to being a student-athlete at Brown.

Now that she’s reached the highest level of her sport, Gibbs’ days consist of sprints, weightlifting and treatment to stay in top shape.

In two weeks, all her training will be put to the test as she teams up with pilot Elana Meyers Taylor to race for the gold. Meyers Taylor is a two-time Olympic medalist, and the pair look to have a solid shot at the podium in South Korea.

As she goes on to represent Team USA and Brown at the Olympic level, Gibbs offered advice to student-athletes seeking a professional athletic career: “Find something you love and work hard at it every time you step on the court, field or ice.”

The Games officially begin Feb. 9 with the women’s bobsled competition set for Feb. 20 and 21. Gibbs and Meyers Taylor will face off against 19 other sleds, including fellow Americans, as they chase Olympic glory.