Nebraska native Curt Tomasevicz now has a silver medal for the 2014 Olympics — five years after the Olympic games.
Tomasevicz and the U.S. Men’s Bobsled team received their medals during a ceremony in Los Angeles Tuesday night.
The team’s bronze medals were upgraded after the Russian team was stripped of their gold medals for alleged doping.
Latvia’s team now has the gold.
“I think people felt bad we didn’t get the original experience but this time it was just celebrating our team – there was no one else on the podium. And it was great to do it on U.S. soil,” said Curt Tomasevicz.
The U.S. four-man team included Tomasevicz, Chris Fogt, Steve Langton and the late Steven Holcomb.
“Our pilot Steve Holcomb is no longer with us,” Tomasevicz said. “That’s the part that may bother me the most. Our podium moment has kind of been taken away from us. We didn’t get to celebrate together as a team and that’s just never going to happen now.”
Tomasevicz, the other two remaining members of the team, and Holcomb’s family are now using this opportunity to honor Holcomb.
“It’s really hard to explain whether it should be excitement or relief or what it is I guess, because he won’t be there to celebrate with us,” Tomasevicz said. “And I don’t know that we feel full justice has been served.”
While Tomasevicz and the team received their new medals on Tuesday night, they had to give the medals back after the ceremony. A grammatical error in the medal’s engraving must be fixed before the team receives their permanent medals.
Tomasevicz was also part of the 2010 Men’s Bobsled team that received gold in Vancouver.
He has retired from bobsledding and is an engineering professor at the University of Nebraska.
Original Source: 1011 Now
If just a touch of carbon fiber can provide benefits for athletes, then VKTRY founder Matt Arciuolo figured engineering a full-length carbon fiber insole had a range of untapped potential. Following nearly a decade of research and development, all sparked by an effort to provide the USA Olympic bobsled team more explosiveness on their starts, Arciuolo patented a carbon fiber footwear insole customizable to provide performance benefits for athletes far beyond the bobsled.
VKTRY, now four years beyond that patent and three years since producing its first commercial insoles, has made inroads in major college and professional sports the country over, gaining backing from LSU’s director of athletic training Jack Marucci, now-retired Lakers trainer Gary Vitti, Red Sox doctor James Creps and a handful of professional athlete endorders.
“Insole inserts are passive devices designed to absorb shock, but they don’t generate energy or return energy to the athlete,” Arciuolo says. “Instead of a passive device, I designed this carbon fiber insole to store energy and return it.”
The process works in four steps, all using the impressive strength-to-weight ratio of carbon fiber. When the heel hits the ground, the VKTRY insole absorbs the shock of the heel strike and returns it like a trampoline, Arciuolo says. When the second phase of an athlete’s gate moves their full body weight over the middle of the insert, the arched design deflects and adds cushioning. “The third phase is where the magic happens,” he says. When athletes pick their heel up to take a step or jump, the carbon fiber stores the energy at the ball of the foot, returning it in the toe-off phase — phase four — “where all the energy stored in the first three phases is returned.” The insole isn’t generating energy on its own, instead using an athlete’s energy and returning it to them for efficiency and explosion.
Using independent studies, including one from Southern Connecticut State University, VKTRY CEO Steve Wasik says science backs that claims, showing the company’s insoles provide over a 9 percent rate of force development, basically explosiveness, than not using the product.
The carbon fiber is engineered with multiple layers of fibers in different lengths, makeups and directions to offer flexibility where needed and stability in other areas.
VKTRY was designed for use across multiple sports — major footwear brands from Nike to Asics have started employing carbon fiber in long-distance running shoes for linear benefits — and Wasik says they’ve seen adoption from football to baseball, but have found basketball and volleyball players especially enjoy the energy return for higher jumping ability and less force upon landing. “We hear some great stories from athletes who have suffered from sore knees or shin splints and the pain is gone,” he says.
The original bobsled design requiring the insole to fit in the tight confines of a spike helped create a product ideal for all athletes, Arciuolo says. “The challenge was not only getting something that worked in terms of propulsion, but also that fit in the shoe,” he says. The carbon fiber portion of the product weighs less than an ounce and is less than a millimeter thick. A proprietary polyurethane top cover provides additional comfort.
VKTRY isn’t a one-size fits all proposition, with Arciuolo calling it a “truly customized product.” It comes in five different “pro levels,” which are basically different flex levels. Lighter athletes with smaller feet require more flex than a 320-pound football player. To get the same propulsion performance, insoles require customization based on sport, weight and foot size, so an algorithm helps find the best flex level for each athlete. The insole is further customized by sport, using different thickness and sizes.
“The VK is the best combination of injury protection and performance I have ever seen in insoles,” Vitti says.
Endorsers of the brand also include Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays, Anthony Miller of the Chicago Bears, Josh Norman of the Washington Redskins, Lexie Brown of the Minnesota Lynx, Myles Jones of Chaos Lacrosse Club, George Springer of the Houston Astros, CrossFit world champion Annie Thorisdottir and plenty more.
Creps says that “for the first time, athletes can experience stabilization, shock absorption and propulsion in a device that is specifically tailored to their size and weight. This is a game changer.”
Written by Tim Newcomb; Forbes
U.S. bobsledder Steven Holcomb is getting one last victory celebration.
A long overdue one.
More than 2 1/2 years after his death — and almost six years removed from the bobsled races in question — Holcomb and his team are about to finally be presented the silver medals that they should have received at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Holcomb and teammates Steven Langton, Chris Fogt and Curt Tomasevicz were originally awarded bronze medals, which were eventually upgraded after a long probe of the Russian doping scandal that now overshadows those games.
The medal reallocation will take place at the Team USA Awards in Los Angeles. Langton, Fogt and Tomasevicz are all expected to attend, as is longtime U.S. bobsled coach Brian Shimer and other top American sliding officials. Holcomb, who was 37 when he died in his sleep at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, New York in May 2017, will be represented by his family.
“I think the word that comes to mind most quickly is bittersweet,” said Jean Schaefer, Holcomb’s mother. “It’s certainly a great honor for Steven and I’m so very, very proud of him — as I have been so very proud of him his whole life. But there’s also a great sadness that he’s not here to enjoy the fruits of his efforts and to celebrate with his team.”
It took years to get to this point: Russia, which won the two- and four-man bobsled races at the 2014 Games on its home ice, was stripped of those titles in November 2017 after the long investigation into the state-sponsored doping program at that Olympics.
But it took the International Olympic Committee until this past March to formally reallocate the medals. Latvia was upgraded to gold in four-man, with Britain moving up to bronze. In two-man, Switzerland eventually was elevated to gold, with Latvia up to bronze.
The U.S., which left Sochi with bronzes from both races, is now recognized as the silver medalist in both. Holcomb and Langton were in the two-man sled; Holcomb drove Langton, Fogt and Tomasevicz in the four-man race.
“Holcomb made such an impact on so many people’s lives,” said Kaillie Humphries, the longtime Canadian bobsledder and two-time Olympic women’s champion who is now competing for the U.S. “He was the best.”
Holcomb, who had prescription sleeping pills and alcohol in his system on the night that he died and was so depressed by failing eyesight in 2007 that he attempted suicide, was by far the best bobsledder in the U.S. program — perhaps ever. He was a winner of at least 60 World Cup medals, more than a dozen World Cup championship trophies and the various awards from his career are scattered about the homes of his relatives.
His mother’s intention for the silver medals is that they be donated to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee archives. The USOPC was in possession of Holcomb’s bronze medals, as a gift from his family, when they had to be surrendered to the IOC in order to receive the new silvers.
“Steven once told me that his medals weren’t just medals for him or his team,” Schaefer said. “They were medals for his country. They represented America and he was very proud of that and I think he would be very proud to know that his medals reside where people can see them and enjoy them.”
Holcomb would have been a lock for the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team as well, where he could have added to his medal haul — he drove the U.S. to gold in the four-man race at the 2010 Vancouver Games, ending a 62-year drought for the Americans in bobsledding’s signature race.
His mother went to Pyeongchang last year instead, representing her son and his memory. The grieving process is not over, though Tuesday’s event is certain to bring back happy thoughts as well.
“I’m as OK as I can be,” Schaefer said. “I don’t know if a parent ever gets over the loss of a child, because it’s certainly not the natural order of things. And I have to say that the support of his teammates and the Olympic family is incredible. Just incredible. You feel the love all the time.”
She will feel it again Tuesday, one more time.