Bobsledding is a high-octane sport and, for Grantsville native Rylie Matthews, it is unmatched.
“The adrenaline rush of being in a bobsled isn’t comparable to anything I have ever experienced — races are no exception,” she said. “The highs are even higher and you get so amped to push the sleds as hard as you possibly can, to feel speeds you never thought possible (while) sliding on ice.”
The 2012 Grantsville High School graduate spent much of her high school and collegiate years competing in track and field, but decided to change gears in 2019 when a friend introduced her to bobsledding.
“It kind of didn’t really happen, where I decided to do bobsledding,” Matthews said. “I guess I just kind of fell into it.”
While working for the Weber State athletic department, Matthews said a coworker of hers — who was a former U.S. bobsledder — asked if she ever considered participating in the sport.
“I was (initially) like, no I’ve never thought about it,” she recalled. “And I ended up going up to Park City (for tryouts) and competing in a trial and did very well.
“Then I got a phone call and they wanted me to come be on the (national) team.”
And the rest, as they say, was history.
Now in her second year competing with Team USA, Matthews says her experience has been incredible and proved to be a seamless transition from her former sport of track and field.
According to her, the training for bobsledding is very similar to what she went through to prepare for track and field. Training for both sports involves an intense regimen of both weightlifting and sprinting to help athletes gain a strong and explosive frame. Matthews’ bobsled training also includes practicing with pushing sleds on ice at an indoor facility in Lake Placid, New York.
“I kind of went out on a limb to do this and it’s working out (due to) hard work and being gritty,” Matthews said. “Even though it sounds pretty crazy that one day I went ‘I want to go to the Olympics.’”
“I want to show people that, even though we’re from this tiny little spot in Tooele County, you can do really big things,” she said.
Overall, Matthews has thrived on her experience and said she enjoys the camaraderie she has with her teammates.
“It’s fun having a group of people, who you can relate to, who all do this niche sport,” she said. “There’s always hugs and celebrations after completed runs, whether good or bad.”
The USA Bobsled team recently placed sixth in the USA Bobsled and Skeleton Nationals and are set to compete in the North American Cup March 23-27.