It has been a difficult year for the United States bobsled team. It started in 2017 with the death of bobsled driver Steve Holcomb. As the team competes with heavy hearts, injuries and illness has also plagued the team in South Korea.
According to the Chicago Tribune, U.S. coach Brian Shimer has been bedridden with an illness, Justin Olsen needed an emergency appendix surgery after arriving in Pyeongchang and Codie Bascue partially tore his left calf muscle.
“The bobsled Gods are upset at us for something,” bobsledder Nick Cunningham joked with the Chicago Tribune. “We’re going to continue to fight. You’re not going to hold us down here. We’re going to keep our heads held high, regardless of where we finish, just based on our performance and we know how hard we’re fighting.”
The mental fortitude and determination displayed by the 2018 United States bobsled team makes a lot of sense given the squad’s military ties. Nathan Weber, part of the USA’s third team, is a Green Beret. Christopher Fogt is on the same team, and is a captain in the Army.
“Guys who are successful in the military on a high level, they have the same qualities as someone successful in bobsled, especially at the Olympic level,” Weber told Yahoo Sports. “Guys that are self-starters and do the right thing when no one else is looking.”
According to Team USA, the following 14 athletes are on the United States Bobsled National Team: Hakeem Abdul-Saboor, Codie Bascue, Nick Cunningham, Christopher Fogt, Christopher Kinney, Steven Langton, Sam McGuffie, Sam Michener, Justin Olsen, Jimmy Reed, Nicholas Taylor, Carlo Valdes, Nathan Weber and Evan Weinstock.
Here are the USA team two team members: Nick Cunningham, Hakeem Abdul-Saboor, Christopher Kinney and Samuel Michener. This is the USA team three squad: Justin Olsen, Nathan Weber, Carlo Valdes and Christopher Fogt.
Learn more about the top United States bobsled team and other key competitors.
USA Bobsled Team 1 Roster 2018
Here’s a look at the top United States four-man bobsled team.
Count Bascue as one of the banged up U.S. bobsledders. According to WNYT 13, Bascue suffered a partial tear in his calf during the two-man competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics. The bobsled pilot is from Whitehall, New York, and has been a U.S. driver for both the two-man and four-man competitions.
Bascue took over as the driver for the United States top bobsled squad after Holcomb passed away.
“This was my dream,’’ Bascue told Sports Illustrated. “But I never imagined I would be driving the USA-1 four-man. Never. In my opinion, Steven was the greatest bobsled driver in history. I picked his brain so much. I felt close to him. I miss him.’’
“It’s not just a football jersey tattoo,” Bascue told Sports Illustrated. “I’ve always been very proud of my last name and my family and where I came from. Not a lot of people think you can come out of a place like Whitehall and actually make a name for yourself. But you can, if you follow your dream.”
Weinstock is a bobsled push athlete. According to NBC Sports, he was training to be a decathlete for the 2016 Olympics, but switched to bobsledding after his 2016 run did not pan out. He was a top high school football prospect, but injuries prevented him from playing in college. Weinstock competed in track and field at Brown University.
Langton is a two-time bronze medalist, but it was the desire for gold that pushed Langton to come out of retirement in 2017 to train for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
“I realized this is probably the last time I can be the very best at what I do,” Langton told US Weekly. “[Winning a gold medal] would mean that I made the right decision. It would mean a lot. I think everyone is given gifts, and I’m very good at pushing sleds in a straight line and I want to use that.”
In addition to winning a gold medal, Langton is also in South Korea to honor his former teammate.
“I will always miss my friend and teammate, but he wants us to go to the Olympics and he would want us to win medals,” Langton told US Weekly. “We’re gonna do everything we possibly can do to make that happen.”
McGuffie played college football at Michigan before transferring closer to home to Rice. The former football player became an internet sensation thanks to the highlight tape above. According to SB Nation, McGuffie’s tape became a viral hit after the MySpace creator put it in his bio.
“Over on his profile, in his bio [was] my highlight tape,” McGuffie told SB Nation. “So I think that’s how it garnered a lot of views. I try to tell people that it’s just kind of a crazy story, just thinking about how that came to be…Yeah, you know, I had Pete Carroll come to my high school, who was the USC head coach. I had Charlie Weis, Notre Dame, Bob Stoops. I had a lot of teams come through.”
McGuffie traded in his cleats to become the brake man on the U.S. bobsled team.
USA Bobsled Team 2 & Team 3 Key Athletes
Here’s a look at some of the other key United States bobsledders.
Justin Olsen is not calling in sick for the Olympics, despite having every reason to do so. According to USA Today, Olsen was in a South Korean hospital for surgery to treat his newly diagnosed acute appendicitis less than two weeks before competing in Olympic bobsled competition.
“It just put things in perspective,” Olsen told USA Today. “I just felt at ease. That’s when I really started to get my confidence back, that this was possible…I feel really good. There’s no hard feelings parting ways with my appendix. That thing’s been giving me trouble for about seven years. I’m happy it’s out.”
Olsen is the driver for the third U.S. bobsled squad.
According to Team USA, Cunningham is a Sergeant in the New York National Guard, and is also a member of the Army’s World Class Athlete Program. Cunningham graduated from Boise State, and was captain of the track team.
Cunningham also competed in the two-man competition, and feels that he learned a lot from the competition despite finishing 21st.
“I know that I can take what I learned from two-man and apply it to four-man,” Cunningham told The Californian.