Every four years over 200 countries and several thousand athletes come together for 16 days to compete in the Winter Olympics.
Over the course of those two weeks, millions of people tune in from all around the world to watch their country compete for gold medals. The sports that normally draw the majority of the world’s attention during the Winter Olympics are snowboarding, skiing and figure skating. There are a total of 15 sports that occur during the course of the Winter Olympics. However, some get overlooked due to certain airtimes and the amount of marketing. One of them is skeleton. And, no, I don’t mean human bones.
Simply put, skeleton is a sport in which you are in a speed suit and lightweight helmet. You run as fast as you can down an ice track then “jump” onto a lightweight sled, launching to speeds up to 90 mph around a mile long track of straightaways and turns.
If that doesn’t already sound exhilarating, did I forget to mention this is all done going head-first! You may ask who is crazy enough to want to do this sport? Well, my older brother Daniel is one of those crazies.
Daniel has been doing skeleton for several years now and is quickly approaching his dream to compete in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China.
Unfortunately, it is not as easy as it sounds. A lot of hard work, commitment to training, traveling and fundraising are all key factors to Daniel’s success. Unlike other countries, the United States does not pay or fundraise their Olympic athletes. Everything is paid out of pocket or from sponsors. Fortunately for Daniel, he has the full support of his employer and is able to continue working as a landscape architect while training and traveling across the United States.
Just last month, February, Daniel competed in two races in Park City, Utah, for the U.S. Team Trials and took home two silver medals. He is just one step closer to making his dream come true.
Of course, he always expresses how much he enjoys the sport and all it has brought him over the years. But what he enjoys the most is the amount of love and support from his family, friends, peers and even complete strangers.
I am very proud of my brother and hope to be able to cheer him on 320 days from now in Beijing, China, at the 2022 Winter Olympics! GO USA!
If you’d like to learn more, donate or to stay up to date with Daniel’s journey, you can follow him on Facebook or Instagram: Barefoot on Ice.