In less than two weeks, former McKinney High School football standout Johnny Quinn found will be walking with the Team USA in the opening ceremony of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Quinn has secured a spot with one of the two four-man bobsled teams that will represent the United States.
A few days ago, TSB talked with Quinn who was preparing for the last World Cup game of the 2013-14 season in Königssee, Germany.
TSB: How did you feel when you found out that your sled crew had been named to the 2014 USA Olympic Team?
JQ: I found out at midnight, Jan. 20 (Germany time) that we had made it. It was a bittersweet day because we lost our third sled to the Russian Federation and that meant that some of our teammates were sent home. I’m thrilled and honored to represent the United States. You never know till you hear your name and you just hope your name isn’t called (to leave)”, Quinn said.
(Olympic quotas are based on rank in international points following seven competitions during the 2013-2014 season. The United States was not one of the top three nations in four-man bobsled standings and is limited to two crews. The United States did qualify three sleds in two-man bobsled and in the women’s race.)
TSB: What’s your schedule going to be during the next couple of weeks?
JQ: I head to Munich on Tuesday, Jan. 28 for a few days to meet up with the rest of Team USA. We will go through team processing where we receive our gear and our rings, as well as our itinerary. I believe that we will head to Sochi on Jan. 31 or Feb. 1. We’ll get there and start practicing on their track.. I believe that we will be preparing and training until the four-man race on Feb. 23. My guess is that we will also have the opportunity to watch some of our fellow Americans compete and enjoy the whole experience.
TSB: Talk about the make up of the four-man bobsled teams. Have the clued you in as to what to expect during the Olympics?
JQ: We were chatting about how exclusive a group this is. They have only allowed two new brakemen into this fraternity of Olympians. Four of the six brakemen are former Olympians. Myself and my teammate Dallas Robinson from Kentucky are the two new guys. And yes, we’ve been chatting with the guys about what to expect.
We’ve got Justin Olsen who was an Olympic gold medalist in Vancouver in 2010 – he’s been through this. One thing that we have talked about as a team is that becoming an Olympian is not the end goal. The end goal is becoming an Olympic medalist and watching our flag fly over that podium.
TSB: Given the reports of terrorist threats, are you nervous about the security situation?
JQ: We feel pretty secure. We were in Sochi last February and we had a chance to tour the facility. The Russians did a phenomenal job with hospitality. We are aware of it (security issues), but it’s not going to deter us from our goals. We are going to walk in the opening ceremonies and we are ready to compete.
TSB: How are you staying focused in the midst of all the excitement and media attention?
JQ: I kind of pull back to past experience. I turned pro at 22 years old and became a professional football player and my professional football career didn’t go the way I anticipated. It was very humbling, getting cut three times before I was 26 years old and then blowing my knee out in Canada. It was a very, very humbling three or four years. While I am thrilled to be named an Olympian and to have the opportunity to have impact on talking to others about going after their dreams, that is not the end goal.
As I said earlier, the end goal is getting that medal and getting on that podium and watching the USA flag fly. As a professional athlete, I’m able to focus on the end result. While I am enjoying myself with all the interviews and the excitement, and the support I’ve gotten from McKinney and Denton, which has been , I can truthfully say it is not a distraction from what we are trying to accomplish and what we are going to go after in Sochi.
TSB: Are you still trying to raise funds to help offset the cost of your Olympic journey?
JQ: Yes, absolutely. You can donate at JohnnyQuinn.com. or through a non-profit that is set up for athletes and is completely tax deductable. This is a self-funded endeavor — an expensive one. Unlike our fellow countries, we receive no funding from the government, so we have to go out and raise our own funding. The non-profit is Donate to Johnny Quinn, USA Bobsled, 2014 Winter Olympics Fund . Before submitting your contribution, please included in the comment box: “This contribution is intended for JohnnyQuinn, USA Bobsled.”
Quinn, who got engaged to Amanda Hall in 2013, said his fiancé and some family members will be making the trek to cheer him on. For a complete schedule of Olympic events, click here.
About Johnny Quinn
Johnny Quinn is a former offseason wide receiver for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and Green Bay Packers. Quinn played with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL. He graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in Pre-Law and graduated as the school’s all-time leading receiver. He also walked-on to the track team and helped anchored the 4×100 relay to the third fastest time in school history (39.92).
In 2011, Quinn was inducted into the University of North Texas Hall of Fame as a first ballot candidate. In 2013, he was selected as one of two receivers for the UNT All-Century Team.
Quinn grew up in McKinney, Texas where he was an All-State wide receiver at McKinney High School. Despite leading the State of Texas in receptions and finishing second in receiving touchdowns at the Class 5A level his senior season, he was a non-recruited student-athlete.
Quinn resides in McKinney, Texas in the off-season and is the CEO and Founder of The Athlete Watch. TAW is a pro-active leadership course in college recruiting for all student-athletes, parents, coaches and counselors. TAW is not a college recruiting service.