ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - Imagine barreling down a chute of ice, head first at more than 80 miles per hour. A sled weighing more than half your body weight separates you from the ice by mere inches. It's a sport of gravity, and as such, heavier competitors are favored.
That's why Ruidoso native Tristan Gale Geisler's victory in Salt Lake City 2002 is so special: She's only 5-foot-2 and barely weighs over 100lbs. What's even more special is that she is the first woman in history to take gold in the Skeleton.
Gale Geisler has spent the majority of her life in the ice and snow. She was on skis at an early age, her parents both being avid skiers. The family relocated to Salt Lake City when she was 9-years-old, and as she says, "the ski school was her school."
It wasn't until four years prior to her victory in Salt Lake that she took to the chute with a skeleton. The bobsled weighs a maximum 85lbs for women and relies on both weight and precision steering with the head, shoulders and hips. A skill which Geisler says is her specialty.
She retired from the chute in 2006, returning to the sport to coach the French Men's team in Vancouver 2010. She is happily married with two children, still calling Salt Lake City home.