Robins athlete eyes U.S. Olympic bobsled team

  • Published
  • By Kendahl Johnson
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Although the weather is improving and winter is fading into spring, the cold elements will remain a part of everyday life for Tech. Sgt. Hoy Thurman, who is training for the 2010 Olympics.

Sergeant Thurman, a surveillance radar technician in the 116th Air Control Wing, was recently reaccepted into the World Class Athlete Program. He will spend the next year competing for a coveted spot on the United States 2010 Olympic bobsled team.

He said he spends his time weight lifting, trying to increase his size without losing speed or mobility.

"I need to gain 10 or 15 pounds to truly be competitive," the sergeant said, "but you can't just be big and strong, you also have to have mobility."

The 41-year-old Georgia Air National Guard sergeant spent the last 15 years participating on the Air Force track and field team, racing in World Class events both nationally and internationally. In 2004, he was recruited to the sport of bobsledding. He is currently racing in USA Bobsled & Skeleton Federation races, including one recently in Park City, Utah.

Once he started bobsledding, he had to give up track and field.

"I was a top sprinter for Air Force for several years, but once I started doing the bobsled, I started putting the weight on," Sergeant Thurman said. "I had too much mass to run around the track at the speeds I used to run at."

Making the Olympic team will be an uphill battle for Sergeant Thurman. There are a limited number of spaces available and he is competing against athletes half his age. He welcomes the challenge.

"This is my last chance and I am giving it everything I've got," he said. "I've always been on the threshold of being a World Cup level athlete and now I am ready to take it beyond that."

When not traveling the country competing in events, Sergeant Thurman gives back to the Warner Robins community. He has been touring the elementary school speaking circuit, speaking to youngsters about staying active and being involved in sports.

The 2010 Winter Olympics will be held Feb. 12-28, 2010, in Vancouver, Canada. Eight people will make the team and compete in both the two-man and four-man events.