Glenn grad recalls time spent as U.S. Olympian

Glenn grad recalls time spent as U.S. Olympian
October 04
04:00 2018

Being an Olympic medalist puts you in a very small fraternity.  Randy Jones, Forsyth County native and Glenn High School graduate, happens to be one of those in it.

Jones won a Silver medal in the four-man bobsled event in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.  Throughout his career, he competed in four different Olympic Games (1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006).  Jones is also a member of the Duke University Hall of Fame.

Following graduation from Glenn, Jones attended Duke University.  He was a member of both the football and track teams.  After graduation, Jones had his eyes set on a track career, but was instead introduced to the sport of bobsledding.

“As I was finishing up my career at Duke, someone from Team USA called my track coach and basically stated to them they are recruiting a different breed of athlete and if I would be interested,” said Jones.  “I called them back and was not totally interested at first but it definitely grew on me, needless to say.

“At first I thought to myself ‘What the heck have I gotten myself into,’” he continued.  “We had guys that took one trip and they were done.  It takes some getting used to, but the thrill was there Day One.”

Jones describes walking into his first opening ceremony at the Olympics as “breathtaking.”   The American team was looking to change their fortunes from years past.  His two-man bobsled team finished 13 overall his first time out at the Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway.

“All of these emotions and adrenaline I was feeling was great and this was just marching in the ceremony,” he said.  “We did not do as well as we were slated to, but I learned quickly that the Olympics is more than who is just the best athlete.”

The expectations for the 1998 games in Nagano, Japan were higher than ever for the American bobsled teams.  After a hard fought competition, the Americans finished fifth in the four-man bobsled, .02 of a second out of earning a bronze medal.

“That was really a heartbreaking one for us,” said Jones.  “After ’98, I had to take a season off to evaluate my career choice.”

Jones made the decision to come back to what he loves after taking a year off.  He and another member of the 1998 four- man team went out recruiting for the right pieces to fit in for the 2002 games in Salt Lake City.

“So we got a team together, basically to say we are going to go back,” Jones said.  “Going into 2002, we put together what we thought was the best of the best and we had good success.  In Salt Lake we thought we had a good chance to get a medal.”

All the stars seemed to align for the four-man American bobsled team.  When it was all over, the American’s brought home a silver medal.  Jones had finally accomplished a goal that was a decade in the making.

“At that point, it had been 12 years of hard work and to finally get that burden lifted off of you is hard to explain,” he said.  “I did this so long for four minutes, because there are four runs which are around a minute a piece, so I spent 12 years for 12 minutes of glory.”

Jones recalled all of the trials the team endured during the 2002 games.  He says there were ups and downs, especially concerning the weather during the final runs of the day.

He says he contemplated retirement following the 2002 Winter Olympics.  He decided to carry on with the momentum the team built up by winning the silver medal. 

Jones took time off from the sport in 2002-03, but returned once again for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.  He says he had a lot on his mind during these games due to having young twins back at home.  Jones did not compete in 2006 games, but was a part of the team.

Jones says he never was a guy that went after accolades.  He says when he looks back at his career, he can see that he has accomplished a lot.

“Sometimes when I sit back and look, I think to myself ‘I did kind of rock that out a little bit,’” he said with a laugh.  “If you just put it on paper and you look at it, you say ‘man that is a good resume right there,’ but you would never hear that from me unless someone asks.”

When asked what he misses most about bobsledding, he simply said “the competition”  and the friendships he made with teammates and competitors.

Jones currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia, and works as a technology director for a global advertising, marketing and corporate communications company, according to Wikipedia.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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