SOCHI 2014

Feb 13 Team USA’s In Love With Its Competition…Literally

By Lisa Costantini | Feb. 13, 2014, 3:45 p.m. (ET)
TIM BURKE AND, ANDREA HENKEL, JAMIE GREUBEL and CHRISTIAN POSER celebrate valentines day in SochiAndrea Henkel, Tim Burke, Jamie Greubel and Christian Poser will celebrate Valentine's Day at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Since Valentine’s Day falls smack dab in the middle of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, we wanted to check in with a couple of Team USA athletes whose love for sport helped them find true love. Here are their stories of how they found their significant others and what both couples have planned for the big, romantic day on Feb. 14 in Sochi, Russia.

JAMIE GREUBEL and CHRISTIAN POSER celebrate valentines day
JAMIE GREUBEL and CHRISTIAN POSER celebrate valentines day
JAMIE GREUBEL and CHRISTIAN POSER celebrate valentines day
JAMIE GREUBEL and CHRISTIAN POSER celebrate valentines day
Jamie Greubel celebrates Vday in Sochi
 
Bobsledder Jamie Greubel and German Bobsledder Christian Poser

Status: Have been engaged since April 27, 2013

How They Met: Through bobsledding at a world cup race in Whistler in 2011. Greubel said, “We saw each other during that first training in the Whistler World Cup. He had been on the German team the year before, but somehow I never saw or noticed him — so I actually thought he was a new athlete. He kept making eye contact with me, so one day I finally introduced myself.”

Who Asked Who Out: “We had a few awkward conversations because I could not speak German, and he didn’t remember very much English from school but the international bobsled federation (FIBT) was having an official party for all the teams after world cup championships and Christian asked me if I was going to the party that night. It’s hard to go on any kind of normal date because of our schedules and the amount of traveling so that was the next best thing to a first date.”

Dating On The Road: “After that party where we got to talk to each other a little bit. He left the following day for Germany because the season was over. But he was very persistent and messaged me on Facebook, Skype, and even found my number and sent me texts on his way back to Germany. We spent the next three months talking for up to three hours a day on Skype, using Google Translate to communicate and getting to know each other better. We decided that I would visit him in Germany after those three months, and that is when we officially started dating.”

Engagement Story: “Christian came to Lake Placid in the spring to visit me, and then we took a trip to my parents’ house in Pennsylvania where he asked my dad for permission to ask me to marry him. In the past, we had talked about him asking my dad and he had to plan it because he lives so far away so I knew it was going to happen soon. He proposed to me at his apartment in Germany. He lit candles and put on a suit jacket when I was in the other room and when I came back in he asked me to marry him.”

Best Thing About Dating A Pro Athlete: “He understands everything I am going through. We really understand each other — from the demands of the training, the sacrifices we have to make, and sometimes putting our goals ahead of our relationship. At the end of the day, we are both trying to accomplish the same thing — and that is unique.”

Hardest Part Of Dating A Pro Athlete: “Even though we are in the same location every week during world cup it can be very hard to spend quality time together. We stay at different hotels, and our teams have separate schedules that don’t always sync up.”

Favorite Thing To Do Together: “You would think after a long six months on the road we would want to stay in one place, but we both love traveling. We traveled to Egypt last April after the season and there are lots of amazing castles in Potsdam, Germany, where Christian lives, so we have had a lot of fun exploring them together.”

Competition Between The Two: “We are competitive in silly ways. Usually we compete about what companies, products or TV shows we think are German versus American. Christian actually thought ‘Sesame Street’ was originally a German show, so we just like to have fun and laugh about things like that.”

Besides, Greubel said, “Christian is one of my biggest supporters. I think he believes in me even more than I believe in myself sometimes. And that has been a big contributing factor to all of the success I’ve had this season.”

Valentine’s Day Plans: “Valentine’s Day is actually our first day of official training for women’s bobsled in the Olympics, and it is also the first time I will get to see Christian since I arrived in Sochi. He has been at home training in Germany since his event (four-man bobsled) is one of the last in the Olympics. It will be really comforting to see him, and to have his support as I prepare to compete in my event. Maybe we will be able to have a romantic dinner together in the Olympic Village cafeteria.”

Tim Burke and ANDREA HENKEL celebrate Valentines Day
Tim Burke and ANDREA HENKEL celebrate Valentines Day
Tim Burke and ANDREA HENKEL celebrate Valentines Day
Biathlete Tim Burke and German Biathlete Andrea Henkel

Status: Dating for almost six years now

Met: Through competing on the world cup. Burke said, “We both spend five months a year traveling to the same places for competitions. After a few years of this routine we gradually got to know each other better and realized that we had a lot in common!”

Best Thing About Dating A Pro Athlete: “We know exactly what each other is going through on a day-to-day basis and this makes it a lot easier for both of us.” Plus, he said, “it is nice to have someone to talk with who knows exactly what you are going through in the ‘office.’”

Hardest Part Of Dating A Pro Athlete: “We both have very strict schedules — everything has to be planned out far in advance.”

Competition Between The Two: “We are both very competitive, but I think it is healthier if we are not too competitive with each other in training!”

Valentine’s Day Plans: “It will be hard to top our Valentine’s Day from last year. The day before Valentine’s Day, Andrea won a silver medal at world championships and then on Valentine’s Day I was winning silver as well. We don’t have any plans for Valentine’s Day yet, but I’m thinking there is only one way to top last year’s.”





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