Olympic Q & A: Gretchen Bleiler, USA Snowboarding

Gretchen Bleiler's  whole life changed when at age ten she moved with her family to Aspen, Colorado where she learned to snowboard. In 2006 she won an Olympic silver Medal in the snowboard halfpipe at Torino, and is another one of the most recognizable faces as she's appeared on The Tonight Show (both Conan and Leno...I hope they didn't fight over her!) and in numerous commercials and advertisements.

MindBodyGreen: If you couldn’t snowboard, what else would you like to do?

Gretchen Bleiler: Because of the success I have had in snowboarding I've been exposed to some other really amazing opportunities. Travel, designing my own collection with Oakley, working with sponsors to help develop products that are more environmentally friendly and putting together my own snowboard event called the Snow Angels Invitational that is both raising the profile of women's snowboarding and raising environmental awareness and I've also done some hosting and commentating. I also find that what I've learned through snowboarding is really interesting and love the sports psychology behind it all. I love to surf and be outdoors pushing my own boundaries and learning. So when I'm not snowboarding anymore, I want to combine all of my passions and skills and create wellness camps in different locations around the world that help other young athletes grow and reach their highest potential.

MBG: Do you train with your husband? Do you think having a husband who is also a snowboarder is helpful to you as an athlete? Do you think it helps your relationship? 

GB: Absolutely. My life is far from traditional and I couldn't be with someone who didn't truly get what I do and experience on a day to day basis. Chris has lived this life and has been with me through it all so there's no need to explain the everyday things, he just gets it; which is so sexy! He's also a better snowboarder than I am and I love that because he inspires me to look at the mountain differently.  

MBG: How do you cross-train during the spring and summer? 

GB: Well snowboarding has pretty much become a year round sport where even in the spring and summer we travel around the world chasing snow because it's always winter somewhere. But when I'm not chasing the snow, I love love love to surf!  It's a great way to get some balance in my life after spending the majority of the year under layers and layers of clothes in freezing cold temperatures. I love the ocean, the sun and beach and I love the challenge of surfing. I also practice yoga and Pilates, mountain bike and hike.

MBG: Do you visualize your runs before you compete? 

GB: Visualization is such a powerful tool on and off the mountain and I do it daily.

MBG: What does mind/body/green mean to you? 

GB: It means being aware; aware of our thoughts, actions and beliefs and the impact that those things have on our planet.

MBG: Favorite quote?

GB: It's a quote from Marianne Williamson:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

MBG: Favorite guilty indulgence?

GB: I'm pretty relaxed on rules, and believe that everything is good in moderation!

MBG: What’s on your playlist before you compete? 

GB: It's always changing based on my moods, but right now I'm pretty into one of my hip hop mixes. Some of the fave tracks on the list are The Notorious B.I.G, Hypnotize, Outkast, Wheelz of Steel, Dead Prez, It's bigger than Hip Hop, The Roots, The seed.

MBG: How will you celebrate after winning a Gold at Vancouver? 

GB: I'm lucky to have a huge family and friends support group who love to come cheer me on in person! So I'm sure to be with all of my favorite people celebrating and making some trouble.


For more on Gretchen Bleiler:
GretchenBleiler.com

Photo credit: Featureflash / Shutterstock.com

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