In September of 2020, former Princeton football and track athlete Charlie Volker submitted his film to USA Bobsled's Digital Combine on GMTM. Twelve months later, he was officially selected as one of the athletes for the USA National Team.
On Tuesday, USA's national bobsled & skeleton federation (USABS) announced their list of athletes selected for the 2021/2022 Winter season, which is the short list of athletes suspected to compete in the XXIV Olympic Winter Games in Beijing.
The list of men's and women's athletes included a few recognizable names, including former USA Track athlete Lolo Jones and a handful of former Winter Olympics medalists like Elena Meyers Taylor and Lauren Gibbs.
One name though, was probably not as well known to those who followed USA Bobsled at the 2018 Winter Games in Sochi. That name is Charlie Volker, an Ivy-League football standout from New Jersey that took up the sport less than one year ago.
Volker, a 23-year-old who graduated from Princeton in 2020, looked into bobsled at the request of a strength coach who was helping him to prepare for the NFL combine. A complicated schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic helped Volker to look for more creative opportunities to capitalize on his athleticism during the lockdown.
That search led him to the USA Bobsled Digital Combine on GMTM. And quickly led the USABS coaches to him.
Volker's trajectory into the sport of bobsled wasn't unique. The current list of includes a number of football players and track and field athletes who found the winter sport after their college career.
Check out how Volker's teammates came into the sport:
- Carlo Valdes played wide receiver at UCLA for a year and then ran track before his coach told him he should check out Bobsled.
- Blaine McConnell, a native of Washington state, played football at the University of Idaho before submitting to a USA Bobsled combine.
- Kris Horn was the 2012 Decathlon National Champion at UMass and earned his major in mechanical engineering, before finding his knack for running on ice.
- Josh Williamson played Division I Lacrosse at Mercer University before winning Team USA's "Scouting Camp: The Next Olympic Hopeful" competition in 2017.