Rogersville’s Greg West chasing Olympic skeleton dream

After watching skeleton in the 2010 Olympics, Rogersville native Greg West said, ‘I can do that.’

“I remember they put me on the sled, they didn’t even tell me how to steer it,” West said.  “They send you off at the halfway point at Lake Placid. They say to just lay there like a sack of potatoes.”

This isn’t your average sled ride… these people fly head first, up to 80 miles per hour.

“It’s like a kid the first time they go down a slide on the playground. It’s just like, wow, I want to do that again.”

As it turned out, Greg wasn’t wrong when he said, “I can do that.” He was actually a natural, and he decided to quit his job to fully commit to the sport.

“I thought he was crazy,” said Greg’s mother Tammie Franz.  “I thought he was nuts.”

After a couple years Greg was on the US National Team, and qualified for the World Cup.

“You have less than a five percent chance of getting on the team,” she said.  “He has way surpassed anything that I think he ever even thought.”

The sport has taken him all over the world.. and this year, he was battling for the final sled in the Olympics, but he was out-raced by 24-hundredths of a second.

“I had some bad luck, I had some bad races, and I had some incredibly good races, and it just wasn’t enough.”

Despite the pain Greg was feeling, he made it clear that he’d likely be back in four more years.

“You can’t get this close, and not try to see it through.”

His family offered to get him a ticket to watch the games…

“I told them it’s like going to your ex’s wedding, you can’t do that.”

But his parents are already going… they had to buy the tickets before knowing if their son made the cut.

“We’re going to do this, or we’re not going to do it. Dad’s like, we’re going to do it. If we don’t do it and he makes it we’re going to be crushed, so we just booked the trip and didn’t look back.”

And when he decides to try again in 4 years, they’ll do it again.

“I’ll be going to wherever that one is too.”

Tammie and the family arrived in Pyeonchang sometime Tuesday.  Greg is already training for the 2022 Olympics in Qatar.