Atmosphere

Speed Racer

How I became an Olympic bobsledder—for just one moment.

November 2010

For one minute and two-point-six-one seconds, I can feel everything. My stomach rolls up into my throat. The wind whips past my face, blowing strands of my hair around wildly. My biceps strain as I force my body to remain as still as possible.

The sensations remind me of being on a roller coaster. Only this ride is in the dark—I can’t see a thing. A blur of blue directly in front of my face obscures everything but the track, which flirts with my peripheral vision. Suddenly, I feel my body tilting at an almost 90-degree angle. I should be falling, yet somehow I don’t. The four G’s (four times the force of gravity) keep me pinned to my seat.

I’m in Park City, Utah, in a bobsled, with three people I don’t know. We’re rocketing down a 0.8-mile track at 67.9 mph, a speed that would garner me a ticket on many highways. Of course, on a highway, in a car, I’d be protected by metal and airbags designed for my safety. Here, my body is almost completely exposed. But right now, in this moment, I’m OK with the danger because I’m living my Olympic dream.

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