PHOTO CAPTION: Former U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program bobsledder Steven Holcomb (front right) leads "The Night Train" team of Justin Olsen, Steve Mesler and Curtis Tomasevicz to a start time of 4.77 seconds in the third heat of the Olympic four-man bobsled event. The quartet won an Olympic gold medal in bobsleigh for Team USA for the first time in 62 years at the Whistler Sliding Centre on Saturday. (Photo by Tim Hipps, FMWRC Public Affairs.)
Former Army bobsledder wins back-to-back Team of the Year awards 110125
By Tim Hipps
FMWRC Public Affairs
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Former U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program bobsledder Steven Holcomb’s team was named Team of the Year for the second consecutive year by the United States Olympic Committee.
Holcomb, a bobsled pilot from Park City, Utah, teamed with Justin Olsen of San Antonio, Steve Mesler of Buffalo, and Curt Tomasevicz of Shelby, Neb., to win the gold medal at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Whistler, B.C., ending Team USA’s 62-year Olympic medal drought in four-man bobsled.
“It’s such an honor to win Team of the Year, especially for 2010 – an Olympic year – when all the teams are at their absolute best,” said Holcomb, who served seven years as a WCAP Soldier. “I’m sure it wasn’t an easy choice.”
The quartet also claimed the 2010 World Cup title after winning gold in Lake Placid, N.Y., gold in Cesana, Italy, silver in Altenberg, Germany, and silver in Koenigssee, Germany.
“Last season was kind of surreal,” Holcomb said. “Leading into the Olympic year, everybody is on top of their game, everybody is peaking, everybody is ready, they’ve got the best sleds and they’re all in the best shape of their life.
“We kind of went through the World Cup circuit and dominated the four-man to the point where we didn’t even have to compete in the last race and we still would have won the overall title, so we were kind of on a roll.
“When we got to the Olympics, I think people just saw us and knew that we were so much more prepared than they were. We had the sled. We had the team. We all were in great shape. We were getting along. We had the camaraderie and the brotherhood that just carried us through. Hands down, there was no way we were going to get beat.”
That was evident on the track, where Holcomb drove Team USA 1 to Olympic gold by a winning margin of .38 seconds.
“In bobsledding, that’s an eternity,” Holcomb said. “It just kind of came together. It seemed to me at the Olympics, while we were there, it was just meant to be. Things were going the way we wanted them to go. Everything was just working out in our favor. The planets aligned, and we dominated. It was awesome.”
Nicknamed “The Night Train,” Holcomb’s team also earned USOC’s Team of the Year honors in 2009, setting the stage for the first back-to-back recipient in the award’s 15-year history.
“Winning two years in a row is even more amazing,” Holcomb said. “As U.S. Olympic athletes, we make sacrifices in so many aspects of our lives and put everything we have into our sports hoping that in four years we might have a medal to show for it. So while winning an Olympic gold medal proves that we were the best, having the USOC recognize and acknowledge our hard work and accomplishments add the final touch, the icing on the cake, to an incredible year.”
While training in the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program, Holcomb said he envisioned reaching this plateau. Now he plans to compete at least through 2018.
“This has always been the goal, but at the same time, everybody wants to go and win a gold medal – only a few are going to get to,” Holcomb said. “You have to go out there and work your hardest and try to get there. When I joined the Army, I figured I would do pretty well and try to be on the national team and try to represent my country at the Olympics.
“Then all of a sudden things started to progress, started to get better, we started wining and all of a sudden: ‘Wait a second, we might have a chance to win a gold medal or at least win a medal.’ It gets a little brighter and you’re like: ‘Hmm, I think I may be able to do some damage at the Olympics.’
“It just started coming together and when we got to the Olympics, we just kind of knew it was our time.”