By Tim Hipps, U.S. Army Installation Management CommandAugust 2, 2013
CALGARY, Canada (Aug. 2, 2013) -- Capt. Chris Fogt of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program snapped Olympic gold medalist Steve Langton's four-year stranglehold on the top spot at the U.S. men's Bobsled National Push Championships, Aug. 1, at the Canadian Ice House.
Fogt, a 2010 Olympian from Alpine, Utah, topped the field by 0.042 seconds and established an Ice House standard for fastest push from the brakes position. Langton, of Melrose, Mass., maintained the fastest push time from the right side of the sled.
The athletes were clocked in pushing sleds off the starting line three times: twice from either side of the sled and once from the brake position. Their best side and brake position times were combined to establish the final results.
Fogt's cumulative time was 9.971 seconds and Langton's was 10.013.
"Steve and I were teammates at the 2010 Olympics, and he's my best friend in the sport," Fogt said. "He's won this competition four times, and it gives me something to work toward. He gave me a high five at the start, said good luck, and is a true sportsman.
"This isn't a one-man sport; it's a team sport," Fogt continued. "You want everyone to do his best. That's why I love the U.S. team. You would think it would be cutthroat, but it's not at all. Everyone is cheering each other on, and it's such a great atmosphere. We are such a great unit this year, and we hope all of our sleds are on the podium come Sochi."
Langton seconded that sentiment.
"There's no one else I'd rather lose to if it had to happen," Langton said. "I'm elated for Chris. He's been really great for a long time, and he finally got to show some people what he's made of."
Abe Morlu, a former member of Switzerland's national team now living in Phoenix, was third at 10.222 seconds. WCAP Staff Sgt. Nathan Weber finished fourth with a 10.241 clocking, followed by 2010 Olympic gold medalist Curt Tomasevicz (10.247) of Shelby, Neb., and Johnny Quinn (10.247) of McKinney, Texas.
"It's incredible to see how well everyone is performing this early in the season," Langton said. "We have the best athletes in the world, and we have athletes that work the hardest in the world. Put those two together and we're unbeatable."
Olympic gold medalist Sgt. Justin Olsen, a U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program, or WCAP, bobsledder from San Antonio, did not compete because of a minor injury, but still holds the record push time from the left side of the sled.
"The U.S. team now owns the Canadian Ice House track record from the right side, left side and brakes," Team USA men's bobsled coach Brian Shimer said. "This is going to be a special year. It feels pretty good to be the coach of such a talented team."
WCAP Sgt. Dallas Robinson also bypased the event because of injury.
The athletes' sights are set on Sochi, Russia, site of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, scheduled for Feb. 7-23.
Despite deploying to Iraq for a year after competing at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Fogt credited the Army for prolonging his bobsled career.
"There is no way I would be as successful in this sport without the military's support," said Fogt, 30, a native of Orange Park, Fla. "I feel like the Army's training and experience has made me mentally strong and drives me to excel. Being around Soldiers, both in and out of the World Class Athlete Program, always inspires me to strive for excellence and, not to be too cliché, to be Army Strong, as well.
"I was back at square one after my deployment and I had to make my way back on the team [for the 2012 World Championships]," he said. "I'm fortunate that the WCAP has allowed me to train full time over the last two years, and now I'm seeing those results."
Fogt teamed with Cory Butner for a career-best ninth-place finish in the two-man event at the 2012 Bobsled World Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
"Having a unit like WCAP behind me has greatly increased my chances of making the USA team in 2014," Fogt said. "They are always there to offer support and have given me access to the best training environment possible. Being able to talk to and draw on the experience of other Soldier-athlete Olympians is priceless. Another vital role that WCAP plays is providing the guidance, resources, and counseling that allows us to transition back to our regular units as seamlessly as possible."
Fogt has been to the Olympics and has deployed to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. He would cherish becoming a two-time Olympian as a Soldier-athlete.
"It is a great honor and gives me extra motivation when things get tough," Fogt said. "I try and apply the warrior ethos and mentality of never quitting or accepting defeat in my training and competitions. Being a Soldier-athlete helps keep me focused and working hard because I am representing more than just my team and myself. I'm representing the most powerful and respected organization in the world. I need to reflect that in the way I present myself, train, and perform."