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Meet the Athletes: John Daly

Meet the Athletes: John Daly
Posted at 1:39 PM, Nov 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-07 12:28:49-05

John Daly is a three-time Olympian in skeleton vying to make his fourth Games -- and win his first medal -- in 2022. Daly has twice stepped away from the sport but subsequently returned, most recently in November 2020, when he came out of a near-three-year retirement to win national team selection races. 

Daly finished 17th in his Olympic debut in 2010, then 15th in 2014, where he was third going into the final run but slipped at the start. He was 16th in PyeongChang and is now back in the hunt for Olympic hardware. 

Outside of skeleton, Daly -- who has a notable passion for his signature coifed hair -- has been a medical device sales rep for eight-plus years.

As part of our preparation for the 2022 Winter Games, NBC Olympics sent questionnaires to multiple athletes to learn more about their lives both inside and outside of sports. Here’s what we found out about Daly:

Tell us about your family.

I grew up in a suburban town on Long Island with two crazy parents and a older brother. I have a sister as well but she is the mostly normal and doesn’t fall into the insane category like the rest of us.

I live with my lovely fiancé Kimberly Lindeman. I love her and she likes me.

How has your hometown shaped who you are today?

My hometown made me the standard kid from Long Island. Lots of hair gel, house music, and a cross that was literally Jesus’s height and weight. I downsized the cross and went to a pomade over gel, but still have the robust New York personality.

How influential were your parents in your athletic career?

My father was my rock and still is. I was so young when I started, he had to drive me five hours each way to lake placid so I could compete. When I lost out on my medal in 2014 my helped me put back the pieces of my life again.

Describe a typical training day.

Typically I have to be up early on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On those days I have a double workout. If I get my sprint in early, I then go to a hospital in Manhattan for surgery with a doctor using our products. I typically have a lunch meeting with a surgeon or hospital staff and then running products in the afternoon to different hospitals in the NYC area. After work I can finally get my lift in. I still lift with two old teammates of mine, Steve Langton and Evan Weinstock.

What’s your favorite workout?

Bench press, curls and abs.

What’s the most grueling workout you’ve ever done?

None, I am amazing.

Anything surprising about training for the Olympics?

How I am hilarious.

What’s your nutrition plan?

Honestly, I just try to keep it simple. Meat and veggies.

Is there a food you indulge in?

Pizza, cheesecake, then Tums.

What’s your earliest memory of skeleton?

It was the summer of 2000. I was recruited for luge, but saw skeleton and switched over. I thought this sport is exciting -- sprint as fast as you can, jump head first on a sled, and go 90 mph.

What’s your earliest memory of watching the Olympics?

It was 1994 and my mother sat all of the kids down to watch the Olympics. As the Olympics played for the next couple of weeks my mother knew everything about the athletes. The stats, past wins, and injuries they were struggling with. When Dan Jansen won his gold medal, my mother jumped off the couch looked at us and said, “We won." When I looked at the back of Jansen speed suit, it didn’t have his name, it had "USA," and that is when I realized I wanted to become an Olympian.

Did you have a specific breakthrough moment?

When I won seven races in a row to make my first Olympic Games.

What would you change about your sport?

I would remove the helmet so people could watch my hair flow in the wind.

Who’s your most interesting teammate?

John Daly, besides his good looks, perfect hair, boyish charm and unparalleled martial art ability, I would say it’s his personality and the ability to make everyone laugh. Also Carlo Valdes because of his facial hair and the ability to never crack a smile around me.

What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome?

Failing in the 2014 Olympics. Coming back in 2018 showed me I could still compete, but now I want to win a medal.

What advice would you give to a younger athlete?

Remember it’s a long road and don’t get discouraged because of one bump.

If you could hear from one celebrity, who would it be?

Will Smith. I have said this for the last four Olympics. If I win a medal, I will expect a shoutout.