About Nicholas Kohn and Marissa Heiser
Friday, Feb. 26
Today was the first of the four-man bobsled races at the Whistler Sliding Center. It was a wet and wild day to say the least. The snow started falling last night and has not stopped since. And these are the biggest flakes we have ever seen. We're talking the size of a child's hand. It is also extremely wet snow, so we were drenched for most of the day. Our first concern was how this weather was going to affect the bobsled track. Mike assured us that it was fine. We don't know if he was being truthful or was just trying to ease our concerns. Either way it worked, until the races started that is.
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Six sleds turned over during the races, one of which was USA-2 John Napier, who looked poised to capture a seventh-place finish for the day. Thankfully he and all the other athletes who crashed were all reported to be unharmed. This track has been quite a beast to tame by the these drivers. Turn 13 still presents a huge challenge to anyone who encounters it. We have all just been praying for safe and clean runs. We spoke with John's family after the race. As disappointed as they were for him, they were just so grateful he was okay. He is only 23-years-old and running with a lot of older drivers with more experience. When his sled turned over our hearts just sank with concern and sadness for him. Napier, who hales from Lake Placid, N.Y., has been driving a bobsled since he was 10 and is in our opinion the future of the U.S. team. He is a great guy and a great athlete and driver.
Following today's results, Mike currently stands in 12th place. On his second run one of his pushers, Jamie Moriarity, slipped on the wet bunk while trying to jump in the sled after the push which created a rough entry into the cockpit. Pusher No. 3, Bill Schuffenhauer, helped get him into the sled and all things considered, they still were able to have a 4.86 push time, identical to the one they had in the first run. Mike said the runs today were not as he had hoped, but he's anxious to move up a few slots Saturday. If there's one thing we learned from the last Olympics and this one too, anything can happen.
The weather on Saturday is supposed to be the same as today, possibly more rain. There was considerably more people at the four-man event than the two-man. This will probably be Mike's last competitive race -- 20 years of this sport has brought him to this day. This entire week he has had what appears to be a perma-grin on his face. He's just so happy to be here representing his country and it's such a wonderful way for him to retire from the sport. We have been so thrilled to be a part of his journey and this Olympics. Sunday we plan to celebrate at an Ice Bar made entirely of ... you got it -- ice. It seems fitting that we end our pursuit of ice with more ice. We're all kind of sad to be leaving soon. We really wish this feeling could last longer.