Holcomb investigation now complete
Photo: Molly Choma/USABS
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (June 13, 2017)- The Essex County Coroner has completed his investigation of the untimely passing of Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) as the USA Bobsled & Skeleton sliding community continues to cope with the sudden loss of the three-time Olympic medalist and five-time World Champion.
“We’re still in shock and struggling to come to terms with our loss,” said Darrin Steele, USA Bobsled & Skeleton CEO. “The sliding community is a tight-knit family, and we lost one of our brothers. The outpouring of support from around the world has helped us begin the process of healing, but his absence will be felt for years to come.”
Toxicology specimens were sent to NMS Labs in Willow Grove, Pa. for analysis. That report was provided to the Holcomb family and subsequently shared with USA Bobsled & Skeleton. The toxicology results indicate Holcomb had a fatal combination of the prescription sleep aid Eszopiclone/Zopiclone (Lunesta) in his system as well as a .18% blood alcohol concentration.
Holcomb was found to have passed away at the age of 37 in his room at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid on May 6th. An investigation by the New York State Police and the Essex County Coroner’s Office confirmed that there was no foul play and it appeared that Holcomb passed away in his sleep. The coroner’s office ordered an autopsy, which was performed at the Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake, N.Y., and the only significant finding was pulmonary congestion.
The Essex County Coroner shared the toxicology report and draft of the intended press release with the Holcomb family as a courtesy to ensure accuracy and to allow for feedback. The family felt that the draft included speculation beyond the scope of the toxicology report and autopsy findings and requested the release be withheld through the family attorney.
“Steven’s passing is a tragedy and we are devastated to lose him,” the Holcomb family said in a statement to USA Bobsled & Skeleton. “Steven was an amazing son and brother who was loved and cherished by his family, his friends, the bobsled community and all the communities he touched around the world. We hold our memories of him close and are so proud of him, not only as an athlete but also as a person. He endeavored to be a role model to others, and to be a kind, considerate and loving man who will be dearly missed in this world. Anyone who knew Steven knew what a private person he was despite being a public figure. Our intentions were to continue to respect his privacy, even in death. We appreciate the outpouring of love and support from around the world.”
Holcomb was the foundation for USA Bobsled, winning 60 World Cup, 10 World Championship and three Olympic medals in his career, making him one of the most decorated pilots in the world. Holcomb finished the 2016-2017 season ranked second in two-man World Cup standings and third in four-man and was on pace to contest for the title in the upcoming Olympic season. He competed on the 2018 Olympic track in Pyeongchang, South Korea in March and spent a week in Los Angeles for an NBC promotional shoot last month in preparation for the Olympics, just eight months away.
“Losing Steve is heartbreaking,” Steele said. “Steve’s a legend in the sport, and not just because of his accomplishments on the ice. You’d never know he had three Olympic medals; he was so humble. He had a quiet sense of humor that was charismatic, and he always took the time to engage with fans and to share his experiences in an honest way to help others grow and learn. He’ll be missed by all who were fortunate enough to have met him.”
Holcomb had just returned from a deep-sea fishing trip for a cable network show, which he posted about on his social media pages, before his untimely death. Just a day ago upon returning home from a celebration of life ceremony for Holcomb in Park City, Utah, his mom, Jean Schaefer, found a package for Holcomb in her mailbox. It was a pair of AYO glasses, a light-based wearable that claims to enhance energy levels and alertness and optimize body rhythm, which he had recently ordered. Holcomb was a self-described tech geek, and was always seeking the latest and greatest gadgets, like the AYO glasses, to test out. Schaefer said it was typical of Holcomb to send packages to her house when he knew he was headed home for a visit, and she’d heard through a friend that he was planning to surprise her by coming home for Mother’s Day. He was planning to attend the Indy 500 with his father, had a trip booked the week following his death to visit two sponsors, and planned to spend the majority of his summer training alongside teammates in Johnson City, Tenn.
As Holcomb’s family, friends and teammates continue to cope with his untimely loss, people from around the world continue to reach out to USA Bobsled & Skeleton with photos and stories about how Holcomb positively impacted their lives. USA Bobsled & Skeleton has created a tribute page with the outpouring of support at http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Bobsled-Skeleton-Federation/Features/2017/May/07/Remembering-Steven-Holcomb.
For media inquiries, please contact Amanda Bird, USABS Marketing & Communications Director, at email@example.com, or at (518) 354-2250.
About USA Bobsled & Skeleton
USA Bobsled & Skeleton (USABS), based in Lake Placid, N.Y., is the national governing body for the sports of bobsled and skeleton in the United States. USABS would like to thank its sponsors, suppliers and contributors for their support: BMW of North America, Under Armour, Kampgrounds of America, Thorne Research, Boomerang Carnets, Hudl, Tesa Tape, PVS International, Ferris Mfg. Corp, Stress Engineering, Machintek, deBotech and Carpenter. For more information, please visit the USABS website at www.usabs.com.