Steven Holcomb: A Remarkable Journey
At the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, United States athlete Steven Holcomb won the gold medal in the four-man bobsled event. This was the first gold medal won by an American team in the event since 1948. For Steven, it was the culmination of a remarkable journey.
As a professional bobsledder, Holcomb’s accomplishments are impressive. His triumphs at the highest level of competition earned him dozens of medals. Some of his gold medals include the following:
- Gold in the four-man, two-man and mixed team bobsleigh at the 2012 World Championships.
- Gold in the four-man bobsleigh at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
- Gold in the four-man bobsleigh at the 2009 World Championships.
- Gold in the combined and four-man bobsleigh at the 2009-2010 World Championships
- Gold in the combined and two-man bobsleigh at the 2006-2007 World Championships.
In addition, he earned fifteen gold medals in World Cup Single Events. Thirty-one silver and bronze medals from these events fill out his impressive career.
Getting to this level of achievement was not a smooth ride for Steven Holcomb. He did not always imagine himself as a bobsledder, and he faced multiple challenges along the way.
Growing Up in a City for Winter Athletes
Steven was born in Park City, Utah, which is the home of the United States Ski Team. Skiing was Steven’s first athletic pursuit. Indeed, Steven involved himself in alpine skiing for a full twelve years.
As a child, Steven participated in the Boy Scouts. He attained the rank of Eagle Scout. Perhaps more importantly, he learned skills like teamwork and discipline that helped him as an adult. These experiences in the Boy Scouts inspired Steven Holcomb to give back later in life.
In a city filled with winter activities, Steven was exposed to bobsledding growing up. However, he only pursued it professionally after becoming an adult.
In the meantime, he enlisted in the Utah Army National Guard. He served there from 1999 until 2006, when he received an honorable discharge. During his time in service, he won multiple medals. These medals include the Army Achievement Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Army Presidential Unit Citation, Army Superior Unit Award, and the Army Service Ribbon.
Rising to the Top
Gold medalist Steven Holcomb’s bobsledding career began in 2002. At the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, he was a tester on the bobsled course. This opportunity allowed him to practice bobsledding on an Olympic-level course in front of a partisan crowd. By the 2004-2005 season, he was driving the sled for the American team. By 2006, at the age of twenty six, he ranked high enough to compete in World Cup and World Championship events.
Holcomb’s first Olympics experience came in 2006. At the Turin games, he competed in both the 2-man and 4-man events. While not earning any medals, the experience of competing in the Olympic Games was an achievement in itself for the twenty six year old.
In 2010, Steven earned a spot on the US team for the both the two-man and four-man events. The Vancouver Olympics proved to be the high-point in Steven’s bobsledding career. On February 27, he ended the 62 year gold medal drought for the United States by winning the four-man bobsled competition.
While Steven’s career took off, his eyesight deteriorated. In 2008, he was diagnosed with keratoconus. Keratoconus is a degenerative eye disease that thins the cornea while changing it into a more conical shape. This seriously distorts vision. Steven found that stronger contacts and glasses were not enough to overcome this degeneration. As a result, he navigated courses on feel alone.
In the past, treating keratoconus required serious surgery. Patients had to undergo a corneal transplant, with all the complications of such a procedure. Luckily for Steven, other treatment options became available in 2008. Holcomb underwent a cross-linking procedure that used Riboflavin and ultraviolet lights to create new connections in his cornea. The result was 20/20 vision without an extensive recovery period common after a transplant.
Steven says that his new 20/20 vision makes all the difference in the world, both in life and his career. Given the nature of bobsledding, this is no surprise. The tracks are hard enough even with good vision!
Bobsledder Steven Holcomb: Giving Back
Steven works with multiple organizations. Some organizations that Steven is passionate about are Right to Play, the Boy Scouts of America and Team Red, White and Blue. These organizations embody the values that Steven stands for while promoting community bonds.
Right to Play is an organization that uses sports to promote the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). They believe that sports have a role in promoting peace and in building strong communities. As an athlete himself, Steven believes in the power that sports can have. While the organization acknowledges that sports alone cannot completely satisfy the MDG, they share Steven’s belief that it is an important tool.
Steven’s work with the Boy Scouts of America is an extension of his participation as a kid. He earned the rank of Eagle Scout and learned skills that stuck with him into adulthood. The same discipline, persistence and teamwork that propelled him to Eagle Scout later propelled him to Olympic gold. Steven wants kids today to receive those same benefits.
Team Red, White and Blue (RWB) is a veteran’s organization based in Ann Arbor Michigan that helps wounded veterans reintegrate into society. Holcomb’s time in the military made him acutely aware of the challenges that veterans face after their service is over. He appreciates Team RWB’s efforts to create effective support network and supports them extensively. Recently he went so far as to include their logo on his bobsled.
Steven Holcomb’s career shows no signs of slowing down. In 2012, he won multiple gold medals in the World Championships. Olympic gold medalist Steven Holcomb hopes to earn additional medals at the upcoming 2014 games in Sochi. While bobsledder Steven Holcomb strives for additional victories, however, he continues to work with outside organizations to provide opportunities to children and veterans in the United States and all around the world.
Steven Holcomb is good sportsman ...In 2012 he won different gold medals..