Olympics

Jan 21, 2014 8:10 PM by Greg Smith

USA Bobsledders share common bonds

They say opposites attract, but commonality is the winning recipe for the Team USA Bobsled team--two strikingly similar men who led them to gold in Vancouver now get a chance to defend it in Sochi.

Two men that won bobsled gold in the Vancouver Olympics have more than the achievement in common.

They're both just over 6'1" and weigh within ten pounds of each other. They'll be representing America again in February, but that's not where the similarities end.

"I didn't grow up wanting to bobsled," said USA Bobsledder Curt Tomasevicz. "That wasn't like my life-long goal or anything like that. I don't think anybody from Central Nebraska has that goal."

"I wasn't really doing anything," said USA Bobsledder Justin Olsen. "I was just working and going to school, and... that just didn't feel right to me, because my whole life had been spent competing."

Tomasevicz and Olsen both stumbled into the sport, just part of a nearly identical back-story.

"I met a girl that was running track at Nebraska, and she talked me into trying out for the bobsled team," said Tomasevicz. "It went pretty well, so they asked me to join the national team. That was in September of 2004, so I had about 16 months to make the 2006 Olympics."

"My mom heard about bobsled tryout," said Olsen. "You always want to do what your mom says. My first time down the ice was successful, the second was a crash, and from there I was hooked, you know? I just never wanted to get out of the sled. I haven't found anything that creates the adrenaline that this sport does."

They both picked up the sport quickly, because of a background in something else they have in common: playing college football.

"Strength, power, speed," said Tomasevicz. "Size matters quite a bit too. We need to have a good amount of mass in the sled. It takes a pretty specific athlete in order to push a bobsled."

"You're pushing people around, so you get that natural sense of pushing," said Olsen. "Some people just naturally know how to push, and some people don't. Your body just goes in the right angles. Pushing people around, or blocking from football, helped me develop this ability to push effectively."

And that background in pushing maybe enough to push for another winter Olympic medal.

As of now, Tomasevicz and Olsen are on different USA bobsled teams. The final grouping for Sochi has not yet been announced.

 

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