Ladies and germs, Betties and Baldwins, meet your new favorite badass Olympic hero, Team U.S.A.'s Katie Uhlaender. Katie is a 5’3” 135 lb. powerhouse 2012 Skeleton World Cup Champion with all eyes on her. Skeleton is the terrifying, mind-boggling, actually nerve-wracking-to-watch sport that entails athletes shooting face-first, stomach-down, inches above the ice down a curvy and steep track on a one-person sled. In fewer words, it is not a sport for the faint of heart. Nor a sport fit for anyone who can’t deal with flying up to nearly 100 mph... oh, heavens, my palms are sweating just typing that. Moving on!
Uhlaender has been amongst the nation’s top skeleton-letes (copyright that!) for nearly a decade, and many are looking to Sochi as her year for redemption. She’s won dozens of titles and has represented the US in the Winter Olympics twice, and yet... no medals. Yet. The 29-year-old is also more than just a champion daredevil. She’s a farm-owner, photographer, and a writer. Her story is fascinating and we can’t wait to watch her and that signature bald eagle helmet in Sochi. And here are eight reasons why you'll find the Olympic athlete immediately interesting:
Professional Sports Are in her Blood
Her father Ted Uhlaender was a pro baseball player.
Her Journey to Sochi Will Make You Swell With Feels
She also competed in the weightlifting trials for the London games
Uhleander competed for a spot in the 2010 London summer Olympics. Though she didn’t make it on the US team, her near-qualifying results made her one to watch.
She’d Make an Excellent Addition to Your Book Club
Her favorite book of all time is The Fountainhead. Discuss.
Lucky Number Three
Katie competed in the skeleton at the 2006 and 2010 Olympics finishing 6th and 11th respectively. Bring on the medals, Sochi.
Her rise to fame was FAST and involved Monkeys
When Katie was just out of high school, she started training for a slew of winter sports with a friend at her local gym. When first introduced to skeleton, the Olympian remarked, “[I thought] it could be a once in a lifetime opportunity just to try it, so I went and tried it and then three weeks later I was a national champion — the junior national champion. I went to worlds for juniors and then came back and won nationals. So I was like, ‘Do I get a PhD and become a primatologist like Jane Goodall or Jeanne Altmann — I wanted to study gorillas — or do I become an Olympian?' Olympian, for some reason, had a better ring to it, so I went, and three years later, I was an Olympian."
She survived Devil’s Highway
As the turn was dubiously nicknames on a training course in Lake Placid. While rounding about this past fall, she smacked her head on a wall, and has thankfully recovered from a gnarly concussion. I guess they don’t call it skeleton for nothin’.