Even though many states are still seeing snow fall this late in the new year, the opportunity to try winter sports remains a hard one to find. With only a couple bobsled and luge tracks on American mountains, rising lift ticket prices for skiers, and limited opportunities for young skaters in many areas, winter sports enthusiasts have to deal with more limitations than just the weather.
But events like The Road To Gold: USOPC's Winter Sports Talent Tryout help athletes everywhere, regardless of climate or experience, to chase the Olympic dream and be discovered by Team USA coaches.
And when they say regardless of climate or experience, they mean it. Talent-transfer athletes - or athletes who change sports to find a new opportunity - make up a huge number of the American Olympic teams. Athletes with speed, a competitive drive and raw athleticism showcased in other sports have been molded into medalists time and time again.
With The Road To Gold, the USOPC hopes to help more athletes find their place in a new winter sport.
Below are a few of the standout submissions that we saw in the last few months:
Martin Oderinide: Former Track & Field/Football Athlete
A web search of Martin Oderinde would give a glimpse of the success he has already had on the athletic field. He's a former football and track athlete who attended Baylor University after a celebrated career at Klein Oak High School near Houston.
But, like many other talent-transfer athletes looking for an Olympic future, success at the high school and college level doesn't tell a very updated story.
On Martin's GMTM profile, he won't mention much from his former athletic life because he's found a new outlet as a USA Luge athlete:
"I'm 27 years old, Team USA Olympic Hopeful. I've been chasing this dream for five years, ever since I competed in season one of the Next Olympic Hopeful. This year is my breakout year."
Ike Nachi: Power Athlete And Former College Football Player
With a 380-pound bench press and 108-inch broad jump, former football athlete turned Strangman Ikechukwu Nnachi is proof that hopefuls athletes in the USOPC Winter Sport Talent Tryouts come in all shapes and sizes.
But with his powerful build and ability to explode off of the line, Nnachi is an ideal candidate to push an American bobsled into a podium position.
After already moving from football to Powerlifting, this talent-transfer athlete could be well on his way to beginning a new sport with a red, white, and blue uniform.
Garrett Degross: Former Track & Field Athlete
Sprinters can make the easiest transition into a few Winter Sports - including bobsled, luge, and especially speed skating. For Olympic hopeful and former Western Illinois Track and Field athlete Garrett DeGross, a 23-second 200-meter-dash time can help impress the Team USA coaches.
With a natural talent for exploding off of the starting line, the Grayslake, Illinois native is looking to transition his speed and strength to a new type of track.
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