From Olympic veterans and medalists to an active duty Green Beret to a former NFLer, the 2018 U.S. Olympic Men’s Bobsled Team has a little of everything.
USA Bobsled & Skeleton announced the team on Monday, and it is led by drivers Codie Bascue, Nick Cunningham and Justin Olsen; Team USA is one of three nations to qualify three sleds in two- and four-man.
The 12-member men’s team includes four Olympians, all of whom competed in both Vancouver in 2010 and Sochi in 2014.
“The men’s team showed their grit this season,” said USA Bobsled & Skeleton CEO Darrin Steele. “We could only name 12 people to the team, but there are a lot of players behind the scenes and on the ice that helped make the dreams of those 12 come true. We lost our anchor when Steven Holcomb passed away in May, and the athletes on this team stepped up to honor him the best way they knew how, which is by laying it all on the line week after week. These athletes made sure the legacy of the U.S. program continued to grow on the trajectory that he set for us.”
Leading up to what would have been his fourth Olympics, Holcomb had earned three Olympic medals, 10 world championship medals and 60 world cup medals. His teammates have been competing in his honor all season and will look to make him proud next month in PyeongChang.
Bascue has already had a remarkable season, especially for a 23-year-old driver, leading up to what will be his first Olympic Winter Games. In November, he won a bronze medal in two-man for his first-ever world cup medal and gold in two-man the next day. The Whitehall, New York, native then won his first world cup medal in four-man, and is currently the top-ranked American and fifth overall in the four-man world standings.
Bascue will be pushed by Evan Weinstock, Steve Langton and Sam McGuffie in four-man, while Sam Michener will join him in two-man.
Langton has the most global medals on the team, having won bronze in both two- and four-man with Holcomb in Sochi, as well as four world championship medals – including two golds – with the legendary bobsled pilot. McGuffie, meanwhile, played football and ran track at Michigan and Rice before a brief stint with the NFL. His first season with the U.S. bobsled team was 2015-16.
Cunningham is the most experienced driver of the three on Team USA. He was a brakeman at the 2010 Olympics, then finished 13th driving two-man and 12th driving four-man in 2014. The 32-year-old from Monterey, California, has three top-five finishes in two-man and earned his first world cup podium in three years earlier this season with a second-place finish at the season opener in Lake Placid, New York. Cunningham’s currently ranked eighth in two-man and 17th in four-man.
He is joined by Hakeen Abdul-Saboor, Christopher Kinney and Michener, all of whom are making their Olympic debuts, in four-man; Abdul-Saboor will push Cunningham in two-man.
Olsen, 30, from San Antonio, Texas, has also been to the Games two times already, and was part of Holcomb’s history-making crew that in 2010 won the first gold medal by an American sled since 1948. He won bronze at Lake Placid earlier this season in two-man for his first world cup medal as a driver. He’s a member of the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program and pushed for Cunningham in 2014 before making the switch to driver leading up to PyeongChang.
Nathan Weber, Carlo Valdes and Chris Fogt will push Olsen at the Olympics, with Weinstock – part of Bascue’s four-man crew – joining him in two-man.
Fogt, a captain in the U.S. Army, also thought he was done with bobsledding after Sochi, where he won bronze with Holcomb. But when he learned that he would be staying in the United States instead of deploying to Kuwait, the 34-year-old decided to try to make his third Olympic team.
Weber, an active duty Sgt. First Class in the U.S. Army, was inspired to try out for the team after reading an article about Olsen. Since then, the Green Beret has trained to reach his Olympic goal all over the world, from Afghanistan to Niger, while deployed.