SEOUL, Jan. 18 (Korea Bizwire) — Among the U.S. bobsleigh team members soon to arrive in PyeongChang are athletes whose paths to the 2018 Winter Olympics have been more unconventional than most.
As part of their buildup to the Olympics, NBC Sports recently covered the backgrounds of 31-year-old Nate Weber and 29-year-old Sam McGuffie holding down the spot of “pusher” — the individual who sets the bobsleigh in motion – in the four-man bobsleigh event for the Americans.
According to NBC coverage, Weber is a U.S. Army Sergeant First Class and McGuffie is a former college football standout at the University of Michigan and Rice University.
In the midst of undergoing special forces training in 2012, Weber made the decision to enter competitive winter sport after chancing upon a story written about now teammate and Olympic champion Justin Olsen. While a member of the U.S. Army, Olsen won the gold medal for the four-man bobsleigh at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.
On what made him choose to become a bobsledder, Weber said, “I thought to myself, ‘If he can do it, I can do it.’” After failing to qualify for the 2014 Winter Olympics held in Sochi, Weber finally achieved his dream of representing his country in PyeongChang this February.
Despite his alter ego as a winter sports specialist, Weber spent this past summer in Niger, Cameroon and Afghanistan to fulfill his military duties.
McGuffie played the position of running back while a college student. After going undrafted by the NFL, McGuffie eventually signed with the Oakland Raiders and played two preseason games.
McGuffie decided to try his luck bobsledding in 2015 after learning that the sport required a high level of ability in short distance running, a characteristic similarly asked of a football running back.
The International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation currently has McGuffie’s quartet ranked 5th in the world. Weber’s group is ranked 20th.
Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)