Passion fuels action, which was apparent from the minute Elliot Markuson, Team USA Bobsled athlete, began speaking with me. Elliot had a unique upbringing, which afforded him the opportunity to be around athletes a majority of the time. His father, Mike Markuson, was the offensive line coach for Arkansas for 11 years and later the offensive line coach for Ole Miss football. Elliot spent a lot of time alongside his Dad, his role model and best friend, while growing up. Some of his earliest memories took place on an SEC football field and his family’s holiday plans often centered around college football bowl games.
Elliot grew up playing football and helped his high school team win two state championships as a tight end and a linebacker. He was recruited to Ole Miss’ football team as a tight end, but was moved to a linebacker position full-time. During his time at Ole Miss, Elliot was heavily involved with athletics both on and off the football field. A redshirt for his first year, he spent 5 years with Ole Miss football, while also serving as an active member of the Ole Miss Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (OMSAAC). This provided him the opportunity to get involved on campus and to connect with his classmates beyond the football field.
After graduating college, his family wanted him to pursue a career as a college football coach, but he didn’t think this was the career path he wanted to follow. Instead, he chose to move to China and teach for a year, as well as coach American football abroad. This decision propelled Elliot’s current professional career, in sports diplomacy. Elliot strives to strengthen global relations by uniting countries with the camaraderie that the unifying power of sports provides.
Born in Tennessee and raised in Mississippi, Elliot didn’t have much exposure to winter sports, but was introduced to the winter sport ecosystem by a friend. After returning from China, Elliot knew he wasn’t done with his career as an athlete. He auditioned and was selected for NBC’s Next Olympic Hopeful, to try out for the US Bobsled team. Unfortunately, a few weeks into COVID, one of the producers called and let Elliot know the show would not begin taping.
Despite the setback, Elliot was not ready to give up on his dream of becoming an Olympic athlete. He reached out to the Bobsled recruiting coach via email and was directed to the USA Bobsled & Skeleton Digital Combine on GMTM.
After participating in the Digital Combine, Elliot made quite the impression on the coaching staff and was selected to join the bobsled team, as a push athlete on the North American Cup team.
As he became more involved within the sport, Elliot started to realize the parallels between football and bobsled. At the end of the day, he identified grittiness, work ethic and physicality as the three similarities between the sports. Elliot enjoys his teammates at USA Bobsled & Skeleton and commented that it takes a “blue collar mindset” to be good at this sport. He loves being on a team with people from all different backgrounds and is confident that he’s developed friendships and relationships that will continue for the rest of his life. In fact, he met his girlfriend Emily through the team.
Elliot celebrates a victory with an ice bath, followed by a sauna session and ends the celebration by meeting up with his teammates at a local establishment. Elliot is thankful for everyone who has invested in his athletic journey, especially his family, friends, girlfriend and German Shepherd named Thor.
Principles and Passion
From a young age, Elliot has let three principles guide his life: show up, work hard, and control what you can. Elliot’s story, passion, and perseverance is what creates a legendary athlete and career.
Stay tuned and follow Elliot's athletic journey on GMTM!