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updated: 1/29/2018 12:06 PM

A global tale: Greubel Poser's Olympic story like none other

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  • Driver Jamie Greubel, of the United States, smiles after a first-place win in the women's two-person bobsled World Cup race on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016, in Lake Placid, N.Y.  Greubel Poser drives a bobsled for the United States. Her husband competes for Germany. And her sister hails from South Korea. That all intersects at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

    Driver Jamie Greubel, of the United States, smiles after a first-place win in the women's two-person bobsled World Cup race on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016, in Lake Placid, N.Y. Greubel Poser drives a bobsled for the United States. Her husband competes for Germany. And her sister hails from South Korea. That all intersects at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
    Associated Press

 
 

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Jamie Greubel Poser drives a bobsled for the United States. Her husband competes for Germany. And her sister hails from South Korea.

That all intersects at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Greubel Poser is looking to add to her medal collection after winning a bronze at the Sochi Games four years ago. Her husband, Christian Poser, will compete in likely medal-contending sleds for Germany in the two- and four-man events. And they'll race in the homeland of Greubel Poser's adopted sister, who has not been in South Korea since she was an infant 18 years ago.

"It's amazing and it's definitely what makes this Olympics so meaningful and special to me," Greubel Poser said. "I can't wait to be there and just have it be real. When I was in Sochi that was what made it really feel like the Olympics for me, knowing that my family was in Russia. So knowing that my family will be in South Korea, especially my sister, is just going to make this the best time ever."

Here's another element to her Olympic tale: She could most definitely win.

It won't be easy. Canada's Kaillie Humphries has been the world's best this season and is looking for her third consecutive Olympic gold medal, while longtime U.S. star Elana Meyers Taylor drove to silver at the Sochi Games. There's a clear perception around women's bobsledding that those are the best two drivers in the world, and it's been that way for some time.

To change that thinking, Greubel Poser likely needs Olympic gold.

"It's definitely fuel to the fire," Greubel Poser said.

When the track in Pyeongchang played host to a World Cup event last winter as its dress-rehearsal for the Olympics, Greubel Poser and Aja Evans prevailed to lead a gold-silver finish by the Americans. Greubel Poser and Evans were the bronze-winning duo for the U.S. in Sochi despite having limited time in a sled together beforehand. USA Bobsled decided to pair them again in Pyeongchang.

This wasn't Greubel Poser's best World Cup season; she was fourth in the final standings, albeit with one victory and two runner-up finishes. But she's also the only women's driver on the planet who knows what it takes to win in Pyeongchang.

"It all came together that week," Greubel Poser said.

In her last 44 major international races, Greubel Poser has six wins, six silvers and 16 bronzes - meaning she emerges from races with a medal 64 percent of the time. And out of her 11 medal-winning starts over the last two years, Evans has been in the sled for eight of them.

"She's after the same thing that I'm after now, which is the same thing we were after in Sochi," Evans said. "We felt like we didn't have enough time together before Sochi. Jamie's like a driver version of me. You can see it in her eyes. She's got no problem with confidence. She's going for it every time she touches the ice, and I really, really like that."

In other words, every race means a lot to Greubel Poser.

There's no denying that this one will mean considerably more.

Elizabeth Greubel has never been trackside for one of her sister's races; she's still in high school, and the schedules have never really aligned to give her time to head to a World Cup venue. But the whole family has been planning to be in Pyeongchang for some time, and it was one of the first thoughts that went through Greubel Poser's head when South Korea was announced as the winner of this Olympic bid seven years ago.

It's been a motivating factor ever since.

"My sister knows I'm an Olympian, but when I'm with my sister, I'm her sister and not an Olympic athlete," Greubel Poser said. "She humbles me. She humbles me real quick. I love her for that. I think she's excited for me because it's the Olympics, and of course it's interesting for her to go back and see where she was born."

This is Greubel Poser's second Olympics, after narrowly missing a spot on the team as a push athlete for the Vancouver Games in 2010. Not getting to those games was what made her decide to switch to driving, and her career has been going the right way ever since.

And now comes an opportunity for what would be the ultimate victory for her entire family, on her sport's biggest stage.

"This was meant to be," Greubel Poser said. "I know what I'm capable of doing, I know what I've done, and I'm ready to go do it."

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More AP Olympics coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org

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