Sarah Gregg landed in Sochi, Russia, for the second time on Feb. 10 to support her family.
Sarah’s three siblings—Jamie, long track speedskating, Jessica, short track speedskating, and sister-in-law Danielle Witherspoon-Gregg, long track speedskating—are competing in the Winter Olympic Games.
But just a month ago, during her first visit to Sochi from Edmonton, Canada, supporting others was not Sarah’s main purpose. She wanted to compete herself but didn’t make the cut.
“It sucks. I wanted to come to Sochi as a competitor,” she said. “But honestly, the next best thing is coming here to support my family. I mean, I can’t complain. I’m here, and my family is racing.”
Sarah could not compete for a year and a half after a disc injury in her back, which forced her to miss the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games. But despite her injury, Sarah says she plans to continue to recover and try again in 2018.
“Obviously, I would have loved to been here racing, too. But sometimes it doesn’t work out how you wanted it to, but you have to make the best of the situation. And I think I have a pretty good situation here supporting my family,” said Sarah.
And it may just be because the Olympic Games runs in her blood.
Sarah’s parents, Kathy and Randy, met at the Lake Placid Winter Games in 1980. Kathy was at her second Games as a speedskater, and Randy was captain of the Team USA Hockey Team.
With their history, Sarah’s parents put all four of their children in speedskating at a young age. And Sarah says all four have looked up to their parents as role models.
“My parents never pressured us into anything. If we didn’t like it, we just didn’t do it,” Sarah said.
The escape only applied for Sarah’s oldest brother, Ryan, who did not like the cold. She, Jamie and Jessica loved the sport.
After Sarah moved out of her parents’ home, she moved in with both Jessica and Jamie, until Jamie got married. She still lives with Jessica and says both siblings have been mentors.
“I know what it takes. I’ve almost been there. And I’ve seen my brother and sister go through it, and I lived with them—live with my sister—so I know how to be an Olympian,” said Sarah.
“And I think I have it. It’s just that I need to get healthy first.”
BSU at the Games is a freelance news agency operated by 41 student journalists reporting from the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games through an immersive-learning program at Ball State University.