Interview with 2008 Junior Olympic Gold Medalist Joanne Reid

FasterSkierMarch 8, 2009

Joanne Reid gives the impression she has no idea how fast she is or how fast she may become.

But at 16, Reid’s got plenty of time to figure that out. For now, it’s all about her first year skiing as a J1, her teammates at Far West Nordic and a little home-field advantage at this year’s Junior Olympics.

Reid is the daughter of Olympic speed skater and NCAA Cross Country ski champion Beth Reid (formerly Heiden) and niece of also Olympic speed skater Eric Heiden… so, you could say she’s got  the benefit of bloodlines.

…But she’s also at a disadvantage: a Palo Alto resident, Reid only gets to the snow on the weekends.

During the 2008 Junior Olympics, Reid was the only Far West athlete to take home a gold medal in the 5k classic race. With the 2009 Junior Olympics on familiar snow — Reid seems destined for success.

How do you feel about the Junior Olympics coming up and especially having them at Auburn Ski Club?
I’m nervous and trying not to think about how I’m going to do until it’s there. I’m excited to race at Auburn Ski Club.

You will be a first year J1. How do you feel about racing longer distances?

I like distance races a lot more. The 10k will be a lot of fun.

You had some good results in the NCAA Western Regional Championships (7th overall, second American) last month did you expect to do so well?
Definitely not. I was hoping to be in the top 20, I had no idea I could do that well.

How do you train when you are not near snow most of the time?

It’s different (than most athletes.) I do a lot of rollerskiing and running during the week and ski on the weekends. It’s a lot of travel but it’s tolerable. I feel like I could train better if I had the snow but the weather’s always really nice (in Palo Alto.)

Do you play any other sports during the year?
I ran cross country but I keep my ski training going also.

What advice would you give to other people who live further away from the snow and how they can become competitive in Nordic skiing?
Give it a try. A whole bunch of us from the Bay Area drive up to train and if they want we can car pool. It’s not as easy as it could be but it can work.

How did you get into cross country skiing in the Bay Area?

I grew up in Michigan and it was the sport to do. I got into skiing at a young age.

When you moved to California and why did you decide to continue skiing despite being further from the snow?
At first we thought we weren’t going to ever ski again but we tried to do a few races (in Tahoe) and it worked well.

Do you think you will continue racing after high school?

I think so, I would like to ski in college but I want to do a gap year and hopefully go do Scandanavian Cup.

What do you like about skiing?
How smooth and pretty it is. It’s not as jerky as running. And I love my team, they are really awesome.

You have quite the family of Olympic athletes, do you ever feel like you have some big shoes to fill?
Sometimes, but I don’t worry about it too much. I just go out there and ski. It’s unique to have my mom faster than me and she’s a really good training partner and coach. I also train with my dog, Einstein, he makes me feel really slow.

Did you compete in JOs at ASC in 2005?
I qualified as a second-year J3 but did not race. I got to see Matt (Gelso) out there doing really well.

How do you think the Far West team will do this year?
I think it’s going to be a great year.

Be sure to check out FasterSkier’s Junior Nationals Blog throughout the week for updates.

Joanne Reid
Joanne Reid


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