In Salt Lake, you can ski the giant
slalom, speed skate the ice oval, even rocket down a bobsled
run - using the very same venues where Olympians compete.
"Track cleared for bobsled number 12," bellows the announcer. Chris
Corr Jr., Mark Dante, and John McGuinnes, hearts pounding, don
helmets and slip into a sleek, red fiberglass bullet. The two
pushmen throw all their weight forward and propel the runners of
the sled over the lip of the track and past the point of no return.
Going into turn five, the crew achieves an exhilarating 55 miles
per hour. They have no sense of cold or wind, only speed. All they
can do is fight the intense centrifugal force dragging their bodies
down to earth, and clench their hands around the rope handles
anchoring them into the sled. Seconds later, they cheer as they
sail across the finish line.
Are these guys world-class bobsledders? No, they're a group of
thirtysomething businessmen. Chris is a television account
executive, Mark is a sales manager at a TV station, and John sells
advertising. But here, gathered just minutes outside Park City,
Utah, they're Olympians for a day.
The world is coming to the Salt Lake City area February 8-24 for
the Olympic Winter Games of 2002. Turns out the games they're
playing aren't just spectator sports. The following facilities
welcome wannabes before and after the Olympics.
Bobsledding coach Pat Brown will be the first to tell you that the
run at Utah Olympic Park is no Disneyland ride. Because of the
superior way the track is engineered and the ice is made, even
amateur "sliders" race down the track at more than 80 miles per
hour, speeds equal to and sometimes faster than those clocked in
Nagano. Think up to five Gs of force!