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:
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.
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