I am no longer in Vancouver, and have now taken the liberty of watching the NBC television coverage of the Winter Games from my home in Pasadena. I was struck by the character of Steven Holcomb, driver for the gold medal winning US Bobsled. As the “pilot” of the craft, the driver is viewed as the captain of the ship, the voice of the team and the personality of the crew. I met Steve in Pasadena the night before he rode on the St. Louis float in the Rose Parade. Although he is not extremely gregarious, he is confident without being arrogant, verbal without being verbose, and intelligent without sounding elite. I liked the guy. When I offered to send him a copy of my book, “Awaken the Olympian Within” he jumped at the chance. It seemed to me that he was eager to gather all possible experiences in order to prepare for his window of Olympic Opportunity. In Vancouver, he had the calm grace of a 10-year Olympic veteran.
When I watched the television replay of his team’s victory, Steven answered every question with grace and propriety, and I was particularly struck by his statement that they had “a great push and a good drive”. He was giving most of the credit to his pushers, while retaining only a modicum of honor for himself. In fact, he reminded me of a ship’s captain, willing to take the responsibility of his duty, and to share the celebration with the crew. Even his Hulky dance was restrained an example of jubilation.
As an Olympian, I look for more than athletic excellence in my Olympic heroes. I look for a role model. I think I found one in Steve.