Guardsman Goes for Gold Again as Olympic Bobsledder

By Katie Lange
Defense Media Activity

Being an Olympian is old hat for New York Army National Guard Sgt. Justin Olsen.

New York Army National Guard Sgt. Justin Olsen. National Guard photo

The 30-year-old from San Antonio earned an Olympic gold medal in Vancouver in 2010 as the brakeman on the four-man team that earned the first U.S. men’s bobsled gold in more than 60 years.

In Sochi, Olsen was the brakeman for driver and fellow New York Army National Guard Sgt. Nick Cunningham in the four-man competition. They came in 12th that year.

Pyeongchang will be a little different for Olsen. He’s trying his hand at driver this time, which pretty much makes him the pilot who steers the ship and makes sure the other bobsledders load into the sled at the right time. Apparently he had to lose 35 pounds to make that transition.

This time, Olsen will be in competition with Cunningham, who will once again drive one of the other U.S. sleds.

Another first for Olsen: He’ll be taking part in the two-man competition this year, too.

Olsen started bobsledding in 2007 after he heard about tryouts on the radio – which is kind of funny, since he was afraid of rollercoasters as a kid. But he managed to get over that fear, and it worked out well for him. He made the World Cup team in his first year in the sport.

Former U.S. Army bobsledder Steven Holcomb and teammates Justin Olsen (middle left), Steve Mesler and Curt Tomasevicz bite their gold medals after winning the Olympic four-man bobsled crown during the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. Army photo by Tim Hipps

Olsen won gold in the World Championships in his second season in 2009 and again in 2012.

Being an athlete came pretty natural to him. He played tight end in football for the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Good luck to Olsen and all of our military Olympians!

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