November 22, 2012

Every dog has his day - by Curt Tomasevicz


It is always fun to see good things happen to good people and part of the reason it’s such a good feeling is that it doesn’t happen nearly enough. Athletes know that, in the end, it’s often the little things that end up making the difference between winning and losing. The little things category may include the extra repetition in the weight room in the off-season, avoiding desserts and sugar, and going to bed early.

Success in the sport of bobsled is no exception. We constantly try to maintain a healthy diet, make plenty of visits to the chiropractor and massage therapist, and continue to increase strength in the weight room in order to keep our bodies in optimal shape to push as fast as possible.

We also have to do the little things to maintain our equipment. Just as Nebraska corn farmers have to maintain their tractors, combines, planters, and cultivators, we are responsible to keep our sleds and runners in top condition. However, we do have a little help from time to time. We have a sled mechanic. Frank has been with the United States bobsled program since 1992. He’s seen the program in some of the low times and the high times including the 2010 Olympic gold medal. In fact, Frank was on the start line for every one of our runs in Vancouver and was the person to put the sled in the start grooves before we blasted off the start block. He didn’t receive any credit for his role in the race but, in addition to lining up the runners and making sure all the working parts were in order, it was essential to our success.

I’m sure (at least I hope) that Frank felt like he was more than a little part of our success. February 27, 2010 was a great day for him. But, despite insisting that he was retiring numerous times, Frank finally built his own sled this past summer. He took a BoDyn bobsled body and introduced some modifications to the frame and the steering, incorporating some ideas that he came up with along his career.

It worked.

Frank Briglia and I after 2012 World Championships
Last weekend, in the 2-man World Cup race in Lake Placid, my teammates Steve Holcomb and Steve Langton decided to use Frank’s sled. The Lake Placid track is one with a reputation of violence. The 20 curves with few straights can whip a 375 lb sled back and forth under 4 G’s of force. Frank’s sled held strong and when Steve and Steve crossed the finish line in first place, no one was more excited than Frank. Like a kid on Christmas morning, no one could stop Frank from smiling knowing that his 150+ hours (volunteer hours by the way) paid off.

Once again, other than this blog, Frank probably won’t receive much credit or recognition for what he does. But just like a corn farmer can measure the value of the little things during harvest season with the yield volumes, we know that Frank’s contributions over the last two decades have made the program what it is.

No comments:

Post a Comment