2018 Winter Olympics: 'Football players are unequivocally bobsledders'

Paul Myerberg

 |  USA TODAY Sports

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Before he was a bobsledder, Curt Tomasevicz was a football player. He’d even hold dreams of reaching a NFL while a haven center linebacker during Nebraska, where he lettered 4 times in early 2000s, though injuries led to a recalibration: Tomasevicz instead left a university as an educational star, earning mixed degrees and, eventually, a training post within Nebraska’s College of Engineering.

But between football and academia came a bobsled — and Tomasevicz was a good one, assisting a USA’s four-man group win bullion during a 2010 Vancouver Games and bronze 4 years after in Sochi.

He was guided into a competition by a former Nebraska lane athlete, Amanda Morley, who approached Tomasevicz in a school’s weight room after a finish of his football eligibility and saw a makings of a bobsledder: Tomasevicz was big, clever and athletic, as good as tough adequate to hoop 4 years in a center of a Cornhuskers’ defense.

In other words, he was a linebacker.

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“Football players are unequivocally bobsledders,” Tomasevicz said. “They usually haven’t unequivocally lerned for it.”

The competition has seeped into a USA’s two-man and four-man sleds here during a Pyeongchang Games, where 5 ex-football players have assimilated a group with picturesque hopes of award contention. In a competition always on a surveillance for able pilots and pushers, football has turn one of a primary feeders for Team USA — bobsled final strength, detonate and an unsubstantial clarity of grittiness, and footballers fit a bill.

“These guys are freaking beasts,” a USA’s Chris Kinney pronounced of his teammates. “To transition to bobsled, that strength and continuance unequivocally carries over in this sport, large time.”

Carlo Valdes was a far-reaching receiver and reserve during UCLA. Justin Olsen was a parsimonious finish during Air Force. Hakeem Abdul-Saboor played using behind during University of Virginia during Wise. Evan Weinstock was a Nevada 4A Football Player of a Year during Del Sol High School in Las Vegas. And Sam McGuffie — famous in football circles for his prominence tilt as a high propagandize partisan — played using behind and far-reaching receiver during Michigan and Rice, and was after a member of a use patrol for a Arizona Cardinals and New England Patriots.

As a bobsledder, “He was blazing quick from a start,” Valdes pronounced of McGuffie.

For these five, bobsled represented a delay of jaunty careers that maxed out, fizzled out or were stymied by injuries. The competition was a judicious overpass from a finish of one office to a start of another, even down to training sessions grounded in identical exercises: squats, cleans, snatches and a like, informed rises for any football player, with a usually tangible change an combined importance on speed training.

Physically, football players paint a bobsled ideal — muscle-bound, all sinew and swagger, these 5 brought to a list a distance and strength indispensable to propel roughly half-ton sleds down sleazy marks in speeds surpassing 85 mph.

The pivotal to bobsled is securing momentum, as voiced in a elementary mathematical formula. Begin with mass, frequency an emanate for any football player. Multiple that by velocity, generally in that initial pull from a station start to a team’s purify entrance into a sled. Combined, that captures speed, and speed wins medals.

Put a practice-field restraint sled on wheels — and on ice, for that matter — and you’d see a same result. Some bobsledders are built; football players come ready-made, wanting usually to be forged out of an existent retard of flesh and brawn.

“I usually keep a sled accelerating,” McGuffie said. “That’s my job.”

But a genuine advantage comes in a mental approach: Having taken and delivered hits, tackled and been tackled, bobsledders with a football credentials are some-more than prepared for a sport’s rough-and-tumble runs.

“You see a guys who play football final a small longer since of a toughness aspect, a grittiness,” Valdes said. “That really helped palliate a transition for me since we was used to removing bumped around.”

And maybe distinct athletes from another one of bobsled’s tributary sports, a some-more individual-focused lane and field, football players immediately grasp a group genius indispensable for any successful sled. In bobsled as in football, a singular fake pierce from any one teammate can equivalent an differently ideal run — an erring step equates to a missed block, in other words, and can hurt runs in a same approach a latter can spoil well-designed plays.

“Our football coaches always used to say, ‘Don’t be a hero, you’ve got to do your job.’ So that’s kind of how we are,” Weinstock said. “It’s a group sport, so you’re operative with other players who assistance keep we accountable.”

These lessons sojourn even as football drifts over into a past. Weinstock’s career finished in high school, with a ripped labrum suffered on a using play heading to a successful lane career during Brown University. Valdes played usually his beginner year during UCLA before relocating into track; further with Olsen during Air Force. Abdul-Saboor’s football career blossomed before an ACL rip cost him his comparison season.

McGuffie’s name pops off a start list. He was a inhabitant partisan entrance out of Cypress, Texas, and chose Michigan over a list of vital offers before transferring to Rice after his beginner season. He was a clever writer for a Owls, if personification out of his healthy position, though McGuffie’s bequest stays — he was a recruiting supernova, with his prominence film common in emails and on summary play in a days before Twitter’s widespread expansion done each vital awaiting a inhabitant name.

That doorway closed. Bobsled non-stop another. The sport’s repute as an island of misfit toys is secure rather in reality: Bobsled drivers might have low roots in a eventuality — a USA’s Cody Bascue started sledding on his grandfather’s lane as an 8-year-old, for instance — though pushers are frequently borrowed from elsewhere.

So it’s here, not in football, that many of a USA’s pivotal bobsledders found their biggest turn of success. Instead of touchdowns and tackles, they follow medals. It’s not all that different, in a grand intrigue of things.

“This is a dream come loyal for me,” McGuffie said. “It’s perfect.”

 

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