November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving race - by Curt Tomasevicz

This past week while most Americans were celebrating Thanksgiving Day by stuffing themselves full of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and of course juicy sweet corn, I was preparing for our first race of the season.

On Thursday night, I raced in the two-man World Cup race in Whistler, Canada; the same sight as the 2010 Olympic Games. As we prepared for the race in Whistler this past week, a number of great memories came to my mind from the Olympics held last February.

It seems like everything happened so fast during the Olympics last February, I sometimes have trouble remembering everything. It was a very fast two weeks of my life filled with a number of very special moments. But there is one moment that I remember that I will never forget. It happened just before the very last heat of the 4-man Olympic race. The Olympic race was four heats. The times from all four trips down the bobsled track are added together to determine the winner. After three heats, we had a pretty substantial lead. I know that forty-two hundredths of a second doesn’t sound like much, but in bobsled terms, that is a huge lead. The order of the fourth heat is determined by the rank from the first three heats. The order is last place to first place. So my teammates and I were going to be the last sled down the hill that afternoon.

Warming up to push a bobsled is not an easy thing to do. Most of the time, our warm-up area is comparable to a parking lot at the top of the bobsled track. It can be cold and snowy and it can be crowded at times while 25 teams of four men do strides and warm-up exercises. But slowly the warm-up area clears out as, one by one, the teams head into the start-house to put on their ice-spikes and helmets for the race. Before we knew it, the chaos and hectic atmosphere of the Olympics was put aside for just a couple minutes as the top team in the world was the only team left in the warm-up area.

The four of us were doing our last couple strides and sprints to ensure we were ready to push when we found ourselves all standing together with no one else around. None of us said anything (there was nothing that needed to be said). There was no media, no noise or distractions. We simply looked at each other and we each had a little smirk on our faces. We knew that we just need to do our job together one more time successfully and we’d have an Olympic Gold Medal.

That was, perhaps, my favorite Olympic memory.

That brief moment of serenity came to mind again as I stood in the exact same spot on Thanksgiving Day. I thought back on the uncountable things that I have to be thankful for. My life has truly been full of blessings, before and since the Olympics. So even though I didn’t get to eat pumpkin pie with my family on Thanksgiving Day, I was sure to take some time to recall all the fortunate blessings in my life.

Note: While Curt Tomasevicz did not say so in his post, his four-man bobsled team took first place at the World Cup race over Thanksgiving weekend. For more, click here. Every few weeks through the international bobsled season you'll find an update from Curt here at Nebraska Corn Kernels.

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