Steven Holcomb

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Steven Holcomb
Steven Holcomb at 2010 Winter Olympics 2010-02-27.JPG
Holcomb at the 2010 Winter Olympics
Personal information
Nickname(s) Holky, Holcomb, Steve
Nationality United States
Born (1980-04-14)April 14, 1980
Park City, Utah
Died May 6, 2017(2017-05-06) (aged 37)
Lake Placid, New York
Residence Colorado Springs, Colorado
Lake Placid, New York
Park City, Utah
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Website Team Holcomb
Sport
Country  United States
Sport Bobsleigh pictogram.svgBobsleigh
Team U.S. National Team
Turned pro 1998
Coached by Brian Shimer
Achievements and titles
World finals 2012 FIBT World Champion 4-Man
2012 FIBT World Champion 2-Man
2012 FIBT World Champion Team Event
2009 FIBT World Champion 4-Man
Olympic finals 2014 – Bronze Medal 4-man
2014 – Bronze Medal 2-man
2010 – Gold Medal 4-man
2010 – 6th place 2-man

2006 – 6th place 4-man
2006 – 14th 2-man

Steven Paul Holcomb (April 14, 1980 – May 6, 2017) was an American bobsledder who competed from 1998 until his death in 2017.[1][2] At the 2010 Winter Olympics, Vancouver, he won the 4-man bobsled event for the United States, its first gold medal in that event since 1948.[3] At the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, he finished sixth in the four-man event and 14th in the two-man event.[4][5]

Early career[edit]

Holcomb learned to ski when he was 2 years old. He was born in Park City, Utah where his mother would take him skiing at every opportunity. He began ski racing when he was 6-years-old at the main resort of Park City and began ski racing for the Park City Ski Team for the following 12 years. During this time he was also an athlete in local sports playing soccer, football, basketball, baseball, and running track. In 1998 he went to a local USA Bobsled team try-out and scored enough points to be invited to the National Team Camp which included the National Push Championships. He finished in 8th place and was invited to stay for an additional week to train with the National Team. Despite his 8th-place finish which qualified him for the National Team he was skipped over because of his small stature and young age.

After placing 5th at the National Team Trials in early October 1998 at the Utah Olympic Park he went on to attend the University of Utah. Shortly following the naming of the 1998 World Cup Team, an injury caused the withdrawal of one member. On November 3, 1998 he was asked to join the World Cup team in Calgary, Alberta, for the first World Cup race where he pushed for driver Brian Shimer. He then went on to have an above average push career as a pusher for drivers Jim Herberich, Mike Dionne, Todd Hays, and Brian Shimer. Shortly before the 2002 Winter Olympics he was cut from Brian Shimer's team, and replaced with Dan Steele, a veteran from the 1998 Winter Olympics. At the Utah Olympic Park for the 2002 Winter Olympics he then served as a bobsled forerunner. This is a person who tests the bobsled course prior to competition.

After leaving the military with an honorable discharge in June 2006, Holcomb began to compete on the World Cup circuit. Starting with the 2004–2005 season, he achieved second and third ranked American driver. In the 2006–2007 season Holcomb (with team members Jovanovic and Kreitzburg) won the two-man World Cup Championship, while his four-man team (with Jovanovic, Kreitzburg, and Mesler) finished second. As Holcomb rose through the ranks of American bobsledders however, a degenerative eye disease (Keratoconus), initially diagnosed in 2002, began to affect his daily life and competitive skills which led to depression.[6] In 2007 a non-invasive surgical procedure, corneal collagen cross-linking (C3-R) was performed [7] to stabilize the disease and in 2008 implantable corrective lenses were inserted [8] and provided a measure of correction during the 2007–2008 season, allowing him to earn three gold, three silver, and one bronze medals. After Holcomb won gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Brian Boxer Wachler renamed the procedure C3-R to Holcomb C3-R in Holcomb's honor, marking the first time a medical procedure was named after an Olympic athlete.[9]

Career[edit]

Holcomb and his two-man and four-man teams achieved 2 golds, 3 silvers and 2 bronzes and then won the first World Championship in four-man bobsled since 1959. Additionally, he piloted his two-man sled to a bronze medal.

In Vancouver, he finished 2nd in his four-man sled in the only World Cup race at the newly finished Whistler track. Holcomb and his Night Train (4-man)/Night Hawk (2-man) competed on the FIBT World Cup circuit. In the first three tour stops to date, his squad with teammates Steve Mesler, Justin Olsen and Curt Tomasevicz has won gold in the 4-man at Lake Placid & Cesana (Torino 2006 Olympic track) and silver in the 4-Man at Lake Placid and bronze in Cesana.

The crew of the four man USA-1 at the 2010 Winter Olympics with their gold medals. From left to right: Holcomb, Justin Olsen, Steve Mesler, and Curtis Tomasevicz.

Holcomb won four medals at the FIBT World Championships: a gold (four-man: 2009) and three bronzes (two-man: 2009, mixed team: 2008, 2009). He also won the 2007 Two-man World Cup title,[10] won the 2007 combined World Cup title,[11] and finished second in the 2007 Four-Man World Cup standings.[12] He became the first American man to win the Two-Man World Cup title. Holcomb also won the 2007 and 2010 Combined World Cup titles, and the 2010 4-Man World Cup title.

It was announced on 17 January 2010 that Holcomb made the United States team in both the two-man and four-man events for the 2010 Winter Olympics. On February 17, Holcomb led the four-man US bobsled team to a gold-medal victory, ending a 62-year gold medal drought in United States Olympic four-man bobsled competition.

Holcomb qualified for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, in both the two-man and four-man bobsled. On February 16, Holcomb and brakeman Steve Langton won the bronze medal in the two-man competition, ending yet another 62-year medal drought in US Olympic two-man competition.[13]

Military service[edit]

Holcomb served as a soldier in the Utah Army National Guard for seven years,[14] from March 1999 until July 2006. During his Army National Guard service, he served as a combat engineer in the 1457th Engineering Battalion. He took part in the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program (WCAP) for seven years. At the end of 2006, he received an Honorable Discharge from service. While in the National Guard, he earned an Army Achievement Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Army Presidential Unit Citation, Army Superior Unit Award and Army Service Ribbon.

Education[edit]

Holcomb attended The Winter Sports School in Park City, graduating in 1997.

Scouting[edit]

Holcomb attained the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).[15]

Death[edit]

Holcomb was found dead in his room at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, New York, on May 6, 2017. He was 37.[16] A preliminary report from the local coroner indicated that Holcomb died in his sleep, with prescription sleeping pills and alcohol in his system. [17]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Steven Holcomb" (PDF). Men's Bobsled Biographies. U.S. Bobsled & Skeleton Federation. 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-10-12. 
  2. ^ "Holcomb, Steven (USA)". Results Database. WIGE MEDIA AG. 2006. Retrieved 2007-10-12. 
  3. ^ "U.S. claims first four-man gold medal since 1948". Winter Olympic Games 2010 Results. 2010-02-27. Archived from the original on 2010-03-02. Retrieved 2010-02-27. 
  4. ^ Krastev, Todor (2006-02-27). "Bobsleigh Fours Olympic Games 2006 Torino (ITA) – Saturday 25.02 Cesana Pariol". Winter Olympic Games 2006 Results. Retrieved 2007-10-12. 
  5. ^ Krastev, Todor (2006-02-20). "Bobsleigh Doubles Olympic Games 2006 Torino (ITA) – Sunday 19.02 Cesana Pariol". Winter Olympics Games 2006 Results. Retrieved 2007-10-12. 
  6. ^ http://www.today.com/news/olympic-bobsledder-overcomes-depression-eye-disorder-create-lasting-legacy-2D11837794
  7. ^ https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/olympics/sochi-2014-steven-holcomb-hopes-to-defend-bobsled-gold/2014/02/02/e3358e6c-8a13-11e3-a760-a86415d0944d_story.html
  8. ^ http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/olympics/vancouver/sliding/2010-02-09-holcomb-night-train_N.htm
  9. ^ http://cd5.teamusa.org/News/2013/January/01/Go-For-The-Gold-Home/Go-For-The-Gold-Steven-Holcomb http://www.thedoctorstv.com/videos/steve-holcomb-joins-the-doctors
  10. ^ List of two-man bobsleigh World Cup champions since 1985 Archived April 9, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ List of combined men's bobsleigh World Cup champions: 1985–2007 Archived May 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ List of four-man bobsleigh World Cup champions since 1985 Archived April 9, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ "Holcomb and Langton break two man bobsled Olympic medal drought with bronze medal finish". Teamusa.org. 2014-02-17. Retrieved 2017-05-08. 
  14. ^ Hipps, Tim (15 January 2009). "Military bobsledders dominate 4-man National Championships". U.S. Army MWR. Retrieved 22 November 2009. 
  15. ^ Bryan Wendell (2014-02-14). "Half of Team USA's 'Night Train' bobsled team are Eagle Scouts - Bryan on Scouting". Blog.scoutingmagazine.org. Retrieved 2017-05-08. 
  16. ^ David Wharton (2017-05-06). "U.S. bobsledding star Steve Holcomb found dead in room at Olympic training center". LA Times. Retrieved 2017-05-08. 
  17. ^ "Steven Holcomb had pills, alcohol in system at death", USA Bobsled & Skeleton, May 7, 2017.

External links[edit]