Myrtle Beach's Mike Kohn is headed to the Olympics.
Kohn, who was not even on the World Cup bobsled tour when the season began, clinched a two-man spot in the Vancouver Games on Saturday when he finished 12th in a World Cup race at St. Moritz, Switzerland.
To some, it came as a surprise.
Kohn, who is a National Guardsman, was summoned back to the circuit in an effort to get three U.S. sleds to Vancouver after veteran driver Todd Hays saw his season end in a scary training crash that left him with bleeding within his brain and prompted him to retire.
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When Kohn's spot was clinched, no one seemed happier to hear it than Hays.
"Mike Kohn exemplifies the Olympic spirit," Hays said. "He has had to overcome so many setbacks the last few years. He could have given up many times, but instead he kept fighting and working hard. He had to have a big result this week and he dug down and came up with one.
"I am so happy for him and his family. Nobody deserves to be in Vancouver any more."
Kohn - who won a bronze medal in the 2002 Winter Games in Park City, Utah - will try to lock up a spot in four-man bobsledding today in St. Moritz. "Kohn did what he needed to do," Steven Holcomb, the top American driver in the World Cup standings and the 2009 world four-man champion, said Saturday. "So it was a good day for the U.S."
The formula used to calculate world rankings and Olympic spots is complex, but this weekend's drama in two-man largely came down to how many points Kohn could collect in the World Cup race as opposed to what Canada's Serge Despres could manage on the European Cup tour.
Kohn, with Olympic-bound Curt Tomasevicz pushing his two-man sled, earned an additional 128 World Cup points to move past Despres in the world rankings, according to calculations done by the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation.
"Curt gave him a great start, but ultimately it was up to Mike to drive well," Steele said. "Which he did."
The Sun News staff contributed to this report