In his own words, Olympic ski cross racer John Teller

John Teller
He looks pretty relaxed here, but when it’s time for the pull, John Teller goes straight into beast mode. Photo by Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

John Teller might be a little lonely at the Sochi Olympics. As the sole member of the U.S. ski cross team, he won't have the camaraderie of his compatriots to rely on in his first-ever Olympic appearance. Thankfully, he's in good standing, if not company. Teller won the Skier X event at the 2011 X Games and finished ninth in its latest running, in 2012. GrindTV caught up with the former alpine racer for his thoughts on heading to Sochi solo. Here’s what he had to say.

I’m excited to be the lone athlete for the Games in ski cross and proud to represent my country. It means a lot with all the effort I've put into this dream. But it will be tough because I won’t have a team with me to train and talk strategy with like most of the other countries will.

I trained pretty hard the last few days before heading over, trying to get it all in before getting stuck in the Olympic regimen.

I have other teammates that deserve to be here, like Joe Swenson. But the small quota we get in ski cross won’t allow for this. Stil, I'm very stoked to be achieving a lifelong dream of being an Olympian.

I’m going into the Games as I would any other race. I will try my best to win and know I can do it. This course suits me well and it will be a lot of fun skiing on a real course on the world's biggest stage.

John Teller
John Teller, race face and hair on fire at his home resort of Mammoth Mountain, California; photo by Peter Morning/Red Bull Content Pool

Bringing a medal home would be amazing. I've put in years of training and hard work and have gained a lot of experience in ski cross racing. Winning a medal would be epic. I'm confident and will hold that expectation of medaling. The support I get has put me here, so I will never forget that.

I had a great alpine career, but beat my head against the wall too long with politics, money, and other things. Ski cross made me fall in love with skiing again. I lost that with the daily grind of alpine. [Ski cross is] a lot more fun, and that's what skiing is for me.

Ski cross is more head to head instead of chasing a ghost. I love downhill and ripping down a course on the ragged edge with my hair on fire, but the horse-racing aspect of ski cross is awesome. Trying to out-do the competition in front of or behind you, and sometimes right next to you, is what skiing has always been about for me.

I think my biggest threat in Sochi has become a tough question. The athletes have gotten a lot better and the field is a lot deeper. I have a lot of people to look out for, but if I do my best I will be fine.

I am a skier at heart, but [being] a mechanic is what pays my bills. I've always been a mechanic; it's my family job and a trade I can always fall back on. I'm also an avid outdoorsman and love hunting and fishing as well as motocross and riding my dirt bike. But right now it's all about the Olympics.

Men’s ski cross seeding begins at 11:45 a.m. Thursday, Sochi time. Access the viewer’s guide at NBCOlympics.com.

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