University at Albany - State University of New York


Skeleton RacingAmanda Bird loves to race downhill at 85 miles per hour, on a 70-lb. sled, headfirst, with her chin just inches from the ice. It’s called skeleton racing and Amanda’s long-term goal, along with graduating this spring from the University at Albany, is to compete in the 2006 Winter Olympics.

Skeleton racing suits the high-energy Bird to a T. "I am very emotional – I feel a lot of things strongly, and skeleton racing is a huge outlet," she said. "When you jump on the sled at the start, you must be very aggressive and fast, but as you go down the track, your body has to become part of the sled --skeleton racing is like dancing on a sheet of music."

Amanda Bird carried the Olympic Torch through Saratoga Springs last winter.

Amanda Bird carried the Olympic Torch through Saratoga Springs last winter.

Prior to this year, Amanda was a bobsled racer, but an accident in the winter of 1999 tore the retinas in both her eyes and kept her inactive while she went through four corrective surgeries. When she resumed training, the coach made her begin with a skeleton sled. "I took one run down the track, got off the skeleton and said, "This is it. This is what is going to take me to the Olympic Games." She just made the national team, so she’s on her way.

An English major, Bird has maintained a 4.0 average and has had to work ahead in her studies, so that her training won’t hurt her classroom performance. "My professors have been amazing," she said. "Their office doors are always open."

In addition to her traditional classes, Amanda has an independent study in her journalism minor in which she is starting to write her first book—an autobiography. No doubt she’ll have lots to write about.Tell Us Your Story

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