Codie Bascue

Sam McGuffie
Getty Images

Olympic bobsled team includes Green Beret, ex-Michigan running back

Leave a comment

The U.S. Olympic men’s bobsled team includes a Green Beret.

Nate Weber, a 31-year-old Sergeant First Class in the U.S. Army, made his first Olympic team.

As did Sam McGuffie, a former highly recruited running back who played at Michigan and Rice.

They join a team that includes Olympic champion Justin Olsen and Sochi medalists Steven Langton and Chris Fogt.

The drivers are Olsen, Nick Cunningham and Codie Bascue.

Weber, McGuffie, Langton and Fogt are push athletes, along with Evan Weinstock, Hakeem Abdul-Saboor, Chris Kinney, Sam Michener and Carlo Valdes.

The full driver and push athlete combinations:

Four-Man
Bascue-Weinstock-Langton-McGuffie
Cunningham-Abdul-Saboor-Kinney-Michener
Olsen-Weber-Valdes-Fogt

Two-Man
Bascue-McGuffie
Cunningham-Abdul-Saboor
Olsen-Weinstock

It’s the first U.S. Olympic bobsled team without Steven Holcomb since 2002. Holcomb was found dead in his Olympic training center room on May 6. He was 37.

Holcomb drove U.S. medal-winning sleds in 2010 (four-man gold with Olsen among others) and 2014 (two- and four-man bronze with Langton (both), Fogt (four-man) and Curt Tomasevicz (four-man).

The Sochi medals are in line to be upgraded to silvers after Russian gold-medal sleds were stripped due to doping.

Bascue, Cunningham and Olsen combined to earn five World Cup medals this season, all on U.S. tracks. The world’s top-ranked sleds are from Germany and Canada.

Weber has been bobsledding since 2012 and made his World Cup debut this season.

He picked up the sport after reading about Olsen, who won a 2010 Olympic gold medal while serving in the Army. Weber was completing Special Forces training at the time, according to U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton.

“I thought to myself, ‘If he can do it, I can do it,'” Weber said, according to USABS, which added that Weber spent summers in this Olympic cycle deployed in Niger, Cameroon and Afghanistan.

McGuffie, 28, was most heralded as a University of Michigan running back in 2008. He transferred to Rice after one season in Ann Arbor, wasn’t drafted by the NFL but signed with the Raiders in 2013 and played in two preseason games.

McGuffie bounced around on NFL practice squads and in the CFL before turning to bobsled in 2015. He has been part of the U.S. national team for three seasons.

His story is similar to that of Johnny Quinn, the 2014 Olympic bobsledder most famous for getting locked in a bathroom in Sochi.

Quinn announced his bobsled retirement last year, his last competition being Sochi.

Quinn also played Division I college football and in NFL preseason games as a wide receiver.

Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker is the only athlete with NFL regular-season experience to compete in the Winter Olympics. He finished seventh in two-man bobsled at Albertville 1992.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: U.S. athletes qualified for PyeongChang Olympics

First U.S. bobsledder qualifies for PyeongChang Olympics

Getty Images
Leave a comment

In his junior year, Codie Bascue lost a playoff game as quarterback for Whitehall High School, a small New York town on the Vermont border.

As soon as the game ended, he hopped in his parents’ truck and drove 34 hours with them straight to Park City, Utah. For a bobsled camp.

“I liked football a lot, but I think I knew I was better at bobsled, and that would probably be where I’d go,” Bascue said. “I think the decision was made [to do bobsled rather than focusing on college] well before I graduated [high school].”

Seven years later, Bascue is going to the Olympics.

Bascue became the first U.S. bobsledder to qualify for PyeongChang as the nation’s top-ranked four-man pilot this season, according to TeamUSA.org. His spot on the team will become official once a selection committee nominates the team on Jan. 15.

The 23-year-old ranks sixth in the world. Bascue earned his first World Cup medals in November, starting with two-man bronze and gold in Lake Placid, where he learned to bobsled.

Bascue’s grandfather and school principal used to drive him and 10 to 15 other kids in two vans 90 minutes each way to slide at the 1980 Olympic venue.

It started when Bascue was 8, and he made those trips regularly for several years on weekends in December, January and February.

Bascue made his world championships debut in 2011 as a push athlete, then finished seventh as a driver at the 2012 Youth Olympics. He was the U.S.’ No. 4 driver in 2014, missing the Olympic team by one spot.

U.S. men earned three bobsled medals between 2010 and 2014. The driver behind all of those highlights was Steven Holcomb, who died unexpectedly in May.

The rest of the PyeongChang bobsled team will be decided by early next week.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: U.S. athletes qualified for PyeongChang Olympics

U.S. bobsled caps strong World Cup opener with victory

Getty Images
Leave a comment

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) — Codie Bascue learned plenty about driving from Steven Holcomb in their years together on the U.S. bobsled team.

And now he’s a winner in Lake Placid — just like Holcomb.

Bascue, who had no medals in his first three years on the World Cup bobsled circuit, finished a spectacular opening weekend to this season with a gold medal in the two-man race Friday at Mount Van Hoevenberg.

It completed a two-medals-in-two-days start to the year for Bascue, who reached a World Cup podium for the first time with a bronze Thursday.

“Today was for Holcomb,” said ex-Michigan and Rice running back Sam McGuffie, who pushed for Bascue. “We have his name in the back seat of our sled. … It’s really special.”

Bascue and McGuffie had the fastest runs in each heat, finishing the two runs in 1 minute, 51.73 seconds. Justin Kripps and Alexander Kopacz of Canada were second in 1:51.84, and Justin Olsen and Evan Weinstock of the U.S. took third in 1:52.13.

This was a strong first weekend for the U.S. bobsled team, which took five of a possible nine medals — one gold, two silvers and two bronzes — from the pair of two-man races and the women’s race in Lake Placid.

Bascue is the first American other than Holcomb to win a World Cup race since 2009, when John Napier prevailed in Lake Placid.

Holcomb had given the U.S. men each of their last 19 World Cup golds, including last year in Lake Placid with McGuffie in his sled.

“I’m really proud of Codie,” said U.S. driver Nick Cunningham, who was fourth. “He had Holcomb on his mind all week. Olsen came through in the clutch as well. Overall it was a really great weekend for Team USA.”

Holcomb, the longtime leader of the U.S. bobsled program, died unexpectedly in his sleep in May.

There were two two-man races in Lake Placid because of a ruling earlier in the week about ice conditions.

To make up for that, there will be two four-man competitions in Park City, Utah, next weekend when the World Cup tour resumes.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: U.S. bobsledders remember Steven Holcomb as Olympic season starts