It was 2015 and Sable Otey, a former heptathlete at George Mason University and mother of an active four-year old, had a surprising thought that has totally changed her life and has her on her way to PyeongChang, South Korea next week to support and perhaps compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Sable first heard about bobsledding from her godbrother and National Team push athlete Christopher Kinney. “I went to support Christopher in the track combine in Greenville, SC and while I was there I heard they were hosting bobsled trials,” said Otey. The Memphis native had previously trained for the U.S. Olympic Trials in track and field, but had turned her attentions to motherhood in 2011.
“I never thought I’d have another opportunity to represent my country on an athletic level,” she said. But she found bobsled and was hooked. “I decided to try and loved it!” she added. “You had to score a 450 to even be considered – I scored a little higher than 450 and knew I qualified.” The next step was to go to push camp -- a camp to see if a bobsledder is strong enough or fast enough. “I waited for weeks to see if I would get the call.” After three weeks, she finally got an email inviting her to push camp in Lake Placid, NY. She stayed at push camp three weeks. After only a week, Otey injured her hamstring. During that time, she thought that this might be the end of her bobsledding adventure. But she totally rehabbed her hamstring and earned her spot on the America’s Cup circuit. Fast forward to 2018, Otey is preparing this week to fly to Korea as a member of the U.S. Bobsled developmental team. She is one of four breakmen at the Olympic games representing the U.S. Ladies 2-man Bobsled team. She is also the first African-American mom to be a member of the U.S. Ladies Bobsled team.
“This is one of the most exciting times in my life,” she said. “Before I jump on the back of the bobsled, I first PRAY, then I jump inside the bobsled behind the driver and close my eyes and just hang on for the ride, I can’t wait to get to South Korea and experience it all! ,” Otey added. Sable will be allowed to participate if an alternate is needed.
Before her bobsled career, Otey was a conference champion in the heptathlon at George Mason, where she received her B.S. in Exercise Science. She also earned a Master’s Degree in Education and teaches Physical Education in Memphis when she’s not bobsledding. She also is the high school girls assistant track coach at Briarcrest Christian School.
You can watch the U.S. Ladies 2-man Bobsled team compete on February 19 and 20 beginning at 8:00 p.m. CST.
- She has (ironically) never liked roller coasters, the cold or heights.
- Before she tried out for any bobsled team, she had never seen the movie Cool Runnings
- She talks really fast when she’s excited.
- She loves to laugh.