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Sports

AFP
February 10, 2018

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‘Watching from above’: late team-mate inspires US bobsledders

Pyeongchang, South Korea: Steven Holcomb died in his sleep last May at 37. The remaining US Olympic men’s bobsled squad members have united to ensure the legacy he built didn’t die with him.

The Olympians he inspired and mentored spoke Friday about dedicating their Pyeongchang Winter Olympics effort to Holcomb’s memory.“It’s going to be tough but I know he wants us to do really well here. He’s watching from above,” said Carlo Valdes, who worked for three seasons with Holcomb on 4-man and 2-man sleds.

“We’re going to try and keep going and get that medal for him. It’s the legacy he left for us.”Five-time world champion Holcomb, who died in his room at the Lake Placid training complex, piloted the “Night Train” sled to four-man gold at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, the first US gold in the event since 1948. He also took 2014 two-man and four-man bronze

at Sochi.

And teammates can still hear the distant whistle of the Night Train.“He has been here all season in spirit. Knowing that Steve is with us, we take that as motivation,” said pilot Nick Cunningham.

“It has brought us all closer together. We’ve become more than a team. We’ve become a brotherhood on this team that I haven’t seen in the past 10 years in the sport. It’s just how we all came together.

“We’re all suffering together and the best way to honour that legacy is to carry it on, to always be that threat on the hill, always put in that work and honour him.”

Sam McGuffie, a former American football and rugby professional who likens his latest sport to “being put in a dumpster and being kicked down a flight of stairs” was a four-man pushman for Holcomb in his last two seasons.“This year has been really hard for everyone. Holcomb was the person that gave me a chance,” McGuffie said.

Steven Langton, who worked with Holcomb since 2011, was on both Sochi medal sleds.He proudly displayed the red, white and blue rubber bracelets all team members wear in tribute to Holcomb.

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