From Auto Repair to Olympics

Making the Winter Olympic team is not an easy task. It is also not cheap. Snowboarders who are at the top of their game often draw sponsorships that allow them to ‘work’ fulltime on their sport. There are other Olympians, however, who need to support themselves while training by holding down a fulltime job.

John Teller is one of the self-supporting Olympians. Teller competes in the ski cross. He is also an auto mechanic from Mammoth Lakes, California.

“There are pros and cons, for sure,” he says. While working to find time to train, he was also saving to buy a house for his growing family. When he cannot work, he has to find someone to cover his shifts. During his time in Sochi, his Uncle Mike took on his auto repair work. Teller cannot afford to have a fulltime coach, so he has to ‘trust the skills I know’, he says.

The Teller family has a history in the auto repair industry. His grandfather and his uncle helped teach him the business. Teller says, “I love fixing cars and solving problems, but it’s a stressful job because I have people’s lives in my hands when they’re driving their children and families. That’s something I take very serious.”

Teller’s Olympic dreams did not go as planned in Sochi. With an apparent straight arm from a competitor (not unusual in ski cross), Teller was shoved out in the final turn of the 1/8 final.



Posted on March 4, 2014 at 10:00 AM