Bobsledder Ben Fogel admits that watching the Winter Olympics from across the Atlantic Ocean in Canada has been difficult, especially considering he came so very close to speeding down the icy shoot in Turin himself.
After pushing for the current USA2 sled driver Steve Holcomb at the end of the season last spring, the future looked promising for Fogel to be on his sled come Olympic time. But after helping to push Holcomb to a fourth at the World Cups and an eighth at the World Championships, Fogel was never given another chance to push for Holcomb.
Come team trials in October, Holcomb picked an entirely different crew, with Fogel never getting a chance to compete in a push-off against the new athletes.
“It’s a lack of communication between push athletes and drivers,” Fogel said. “I never got a chance to race off against the new guys and was shut off the whole season.
“It gets pretty political at this high of a level and I chose to stay out of the politics this year. I wanted to have more fun with the people surrounding me and I had a much better season emotionally and physically.”
Fogel admits watching the Olympics from home would be much easier to swallow if he felt like he had the opportunity to give it his best try and it just wasn’t enough.
Holcomb and his sled will compete in the four-man bobsled Friday.
While a trip to the 2006 Olympics wasn’t in the cards for Fogel, he is already exploring new opportunities. Fogel was approached by German driver Stephan Bosch, who has been living in the United States and is in the process of becoming an U.S. citizen, about forming a team.
Bosch, a former World Junior Champion, has already recruited a former skeleton athlete and speedskater and thinks Fogel could complete the team. He wants to train with one team for four years in hopes of developing solid team chemistry.
Fogel said he will travel to Utah in mid-March to train with Bosch and his other recruits for about a week to assess the situation. But even if Fogel committed to Bosch, he hopes to keep his residence in Calgary with his girlfriend and travel to Utah to train for extended weeks here and there.
“In my heart I feel like I should be out there (in Turin), but that’s old news now,” Fogel said. “Now I have to look into other opportunities.”
To contact sports writer Stacy Hicklin, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4244.
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Another week on the track and another win for Brad Sweet.