Former Packers WR Quinn wants to see U.S. 'flag fly high,' win in Sochi

Johnny Quinn (rear), USA Bobsled, played wide receiver in 2008 Green Bay Packers training camp. Image by Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY Sports

Former Packers WR Quinn wants to see U.S. 'flag fly high,' win in Sochi

By Jay Sorgi. CREATED Jan 23, 2014 - UPDATED: Jan 23, 2014

He has caught passes from rocket-ball throwing Aaron Rodgers wihile wearing green and gold, but a former Packers training camp wide receiver hopes to travel even faster than those passes and win gold for Team USA in bobsled at the Sochi Games next month.

"Becoming an Olympian is not the end goal.  The end goal is to get on that podium with that medal around your neck and watching your flag fly high in Sochi," said Johnny Quinn on 620WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Afternoon News" with John Mercure.

It's been six years, three NFL cuts and some time with the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders before shifting his career to bobsled, and his berth with the U.S. 4-man bobsled team.

"My professional football career was very humbling.  I was cut by three teams before my 26th birthday.  I learned early on that life moves on.  My time in Green Bay was phenomenal.  The fans, unbelievable, as you know," said Quinn.

"Through my NFL experience, I've learned how important mental toughness is, to weather the storms of adversity," said Quinn.  "Now I've got an opportunity to represent the United States of America."

He's had adversity in bobsledding, crashing eight times including his first which included an ice burn that led to "a quarter-sized hole burned down to my muscle.  That was my welcome."

Quinn's first few seconds on a sled run involve all that he has to do, for the most part.

"As a push athlete, once we get in the sled...our job is over.  There's nothing to look at (except) look at your teammates' back," said Quinn, who admits some motion sickness.

"I've got to keep my eyes closed so I don't throw up. a lot of praying in the sled."

He says his team feels confident going into Sochi, after his last performance on the World Cup circuit finishing .07 seconds out of a bronze medal.

"We're working to get on that podium."

Quinn noted that he's the only civilian on the sled, and his teammates in the 4-man are all in the military.

"There's a lot of patriotism in our practices, in our sled.  It's an honor to push next to these guys.  They're soldier-athletes.  They've made a commitment outside of the sport of bobsled to protect and serve everything we stand for as Americans."

When Wisconsin's Afternoon News asked who he wants to meet in Sochi, Quinn responded, "The guys who are holding the gold medals."