2018 U.S. Olympic Men’s Bobsled Team Announced
ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (Jan. 15)- USA Bobsled & Skeleton (USABS) today announced the 12 athletes who have been selected to the 2018 U.S. Olympic Men’s Bobsled Team to compete in PyeongChang, South Korea for the upcoming Olympic Winter Games.
The U.S. is one of three nations to qualify three sleds in both two-man and four-man bobsled. The race for the third quota spot in four-man came down to the final North American Cup competition in Lake Placid, N.Y. on Sunday. In order to surpass the Russians to become the third ranked nation, American Hunter Church had to win the North American Cup finale. Church, who just turned 21, came through, winning the race to give Team USA an eight-point lead over the third ranked Russian sled.
“The men’s team showed their grit this season, and Hunter deserves credit for his selflessness, teamwork and composure this past weekend,” said USABS 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.”
Codie Bascue (Whitehall, N.Y.), Nick Cunningham (Monterey, Calif.) and Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas) were selected to pilot the three Team USA sleds. The nine push athletes selected to the team are listed below by their seat position order in their respective sleds.
Bascue’s push crew will be Evan Weinstock (Las Vegas, Nev.), Steve Langton (Melrose, Mass.) and Sam McGuffie (Cypress, Texas). McGuffie has also been selected as Bascue’s brakeman in two-man.
Cunningham will race with Hakeem Abdul-Saboor (Powhatan, Va.), Christopher Kinney (Stockbridge, Ga.) and Sam Michener (Gresham, Ore.). Abdul-Saboor will push Cunningham in two-man.
Olsen’s crew consists of Nathan Weber (Pueblo West, Colo.), Carlo Valdes (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Chris Fogt (Alpine, Utah). Weinstock, a member of Bascue’s four-man team, will race with Olsen in two-man.
Jimmy Reed (Garmisch, Germany) and Nic Taylor (Hayward, Calif.) have been selected as replacement athletes and will travel to PyeongChang. Reed and Taylor can substitute for competing athletes during training runs, and are eligible to compete in the event of an injury or illness. If a replacement is needed, the selection committee will reevaluate the teams before making a nomination.
Bascue began piloting bobsleds at just 8 years old. Now 23, he’s led the men’s team with two medal performances this season. This is Bascue’s first Olympic Team. Cunningham and Olsen lead the team in Olympic experience. Cunningham is a two-time Olympian; he raced as a push athlete with Mike Kohn at the 2010 Vancouver Games, finishing 13th in four-man and 12th in two-man, and competed at the 2014 Sochi Games as a pilot, nearly echoing his 2010 finishes with a 12th place in four-man and 13th in two-man. Olsen also competed at the 2010 Vancouver Games and the 2014 Sochi Games. He was a member of Holcomb’s four-man gold medal winning team in 2010, and competed as one of Cunningham’s crew in Sochi’s four-man event. Olsen began driving after Sochi, making this his first Olympic Team selection as a pilot.
Weinstock was named USABS' "MVP" following his first year on the national team in 2016-2017 and has since become one of the team's top push athletes. This year, he helped push Olsen to his first-ever World Cup medal as a pilot, a bronze in the two-man race in Lake Placid, N.Y. Langton is a two-time Olympian; he won bronze in both two-man and four-man bobsled with Holcomb at the 2014 Sochi Games, and pushed for John Napier at the 2010 Vancouver Games. Langton took three years off from the sport before making a comeback last spring. McGuffie earned his third national team berth in 2017-2018, and has won five World Cup medals in his career.
Abdul-Saboor is in his second year on the national team. This season, he pushed pilot Church to seven North American Cup medals, and has also pushed on the World Cup tour for Cunningham. Kinney made his first national team during 2016-2017, when he pushed primarily for Bascue. Before bobsled, Kinney ran track professionally in Japan. Michener has been on the national team for the past four years. This season, he has pushed primarily for Cunningham, but has also slid with Olsen, Holcomb and Bascue throughout his sliding career.
Weber, a green beret in the U.S. Army, has been working for the past four years to make his first national team, which he accomplished this season. He pushed Bascue to his first World Cup four-man podium, a silver, in Lake Placid. Valdes came into bobsled after the 2014 Sochi Games and 2017-2018 marks his fourth national team berth. He is an eight-time World Cup medalist. Fogt is also a two-time Olympian; he was part of the four-man bobsled crew that won bronze in Sochi with Holcomb, and also slid four-man with Napier at the 2010 Vancouver Games. Fogt returned to the sport this year after a three-year hiatus
A number of components were considered when the selection committee decided the 2018 U.S. Olympic Men’s Bobsled Team, including combine test and U.S. National Push Championship results, U.S. National Team Trials finishes, driver input, proven international experience with a history of results and team combinations working well together, trend of push times, start rank and velocity, and current season results.
The U.S. has claimed 19 Olympic medals in men’s bobsled since 1928. Holcomb collected three of those medals over the last eight years; four-man gold at the 2010 Vancouver Games, and bronze medals in both two-man and four-man at the 2014 Sochi Games. Holcomb’s gold was the first U.S. bobsled gold medal since 1948. His two-man bronze medal in Sochi was the first for the U.S. in the discipline since 1952. The last time the U.S. team garnered two medals in one Games was at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, when Brian Shimer, who is now the program’s head coach, finally broke through with a bronze medal in four-man in his fifth Olympic Winter Games appearance. He was bested by teammate Todd Hays, who earned silver.
The Olympic bobsled and skeleton events are held in a four-heat format over two days of racing with two heats on each day. The two-man competition will take place Feb. 18-19, and four-man races Feb. 24-25.
All U.S. Olympic team selections are subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).
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. For more information, please visit the USBSF website at www.usabs.com.