U.S. in bobsled medal hunt with help from 'savior' Bodine
A U.S. two-woman bobsled sits in second place heading into Wednesday's final two runs, but it isn't the American sled everyone predicted. Everyone except perhaps driver
Pac and Meyers make up the "USA 2" sled, so named because it is supposed to be the second best of the three US bobsled teams in Whistler, behind USA 1, which is piloted by
But when the sleds got going Tuesday night under the lights and a serene snowfall, it was Rohbock who had trouble staying off the walls on curves four and five, while Pac sped to second place just 0.13 seconds behind Canada 1, driven by
Pac admitted that curve 13 -- the so-called 50-50 curve because sliders joke that's the chance they have of making it through without crashing -- "scares me so much" she said, "but I like the thrill." And the fear didn't hurt her performance. Nor did it hurt the performance of USA 3 driver
One spectator at the Whistler Sliding Centre was particularly proud to see bobsleds bearing "USA" decals whizzing past into three of the top seven spots, and that's because he helped buy and build the sleds.
After watching the '92 Games, Bodine flew with a friend from his North Carolina home to visit the bobsled track in Lake Placid. There bobsledder
Bodine's bobsled trip made the news, and by the time he called his friend and racecar chassis builder
Bodine invested about a half-million of his own dollars to get the first Bo-Dyn sled on the track for the '94 games in Lillehammer, Norway, and the project has raised and spent a little over $2 million since it began. The U.S. bobsled team now has a garage by the Lake Placid track filled with over a dozen Bo-Dyn sleds -- which only Bo-Dyn mechanics are allowed to tinker with.
Bodine's generosity has conferred some more tangible bonuses as well. Bodine has had the chance to drive more sleds and annually brings NASCAR drivers to Lake Placid for the Bodine Challenge, where they try their hands at driving bobsleds -- though not from the start at the top of the track that bobsled pros use.
"People think that for drivers who go 200 mph in a car, going 55 mph in a sled has got to be boring," Bodine says. "But in car racing, we have control of speed. We have a steering wheel, and brakes, and gas. We can turn it off. In bobsled, once you start, Mother Nature is the engine. That out of control feeling is an adrenaline boost for a race driver. When they get out of the sleds at the finish, their eyes are as big as race tires, and they're out of breath."