Olympian to attend Shamokin 150th anniversary parade
SHAMOKIN - Among the dignitaries coming to the city's 150th anniversary parade will be a U.S. Olympian - and one from a small town not unlike Shamokin.
Berwick's Jayson Terdiman, a member of the U.S. Olympic Luge Team who competed in the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, has a break from training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y., and has accepted the parade committee's invitation for him and his family to attend the parade.
"It's been a while since I've celebrated the Fourth of July holiday with my family," Terdiman said in a phone interview Tuesday. "This will be the first time in years."
Committee member Bill Dudeck extended the invitation to Terdiman about a month ago. The Olympian said he's honored to be part of the celebration.
"It's going to be a fun day," he said.
It's been a whirlwind of activity for the 25-year-old luge "back driver" since making the Olympic team and traveling around the world for competitions.
"It's been non-stop travel" to events, including the national and world championships and the Olympics. "I'm back in Berwick today for a couple of appearances, but I figured that I've been home for a total of 18 days since last August.
"I'm trying to stay on top of everything the best I can," Terdiman said.
Life on and off the luge
Last season, Terdiman and his luge partner, Christian Niccum, finished 11th in the double luge and sixth in the team luge at Sochi.
Niccum retired, and Terdiman is now working with Matt Mortensen.
"I've known Matt for a long time and he was a rider on the other sled during the Olympics," Terdiman said. "We have been working well together for a while now and took a silver medal in a national seeding race. We are looking forward to the season beginning in October."
Until then, Terdiman continues to train. A lot of time is spent in the gym, but there is a "refrigerated" 100-foot ramp that allows the athletes to work on their technique and starts. They also spend time looking for ways to make their sleds faster.
"Unlike NASCAR, where there is a whole crew that works on the car, we have to do everything ourselves," Terdiman said.
When not training or making appearances, Terdiman's life is pretty predictable.
"I have a job waiting tables to help pay the bills," he said.
At his relatively young age, though, the luger finds himself in an unusual place as elder statesman for the team.
"I've only been here few years, and suddenly, I'm the oldest back driver on the team," he said. "It feels different, but it's something that happens in every athlete's career. You just use that time to help the young kids while you still wait for that inner athlete in you to come out."