Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Now that's one speedy Osmond - Don, Jr.

By Molly Farmer
Mormon Times
Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2008


Don Osmond's first trip down a bobsled track was significant, even though he can't remember all of it.

"I'd like to say it was memorable, but I actually blacked out about two-thirds of the way down the track," Osmond said.

The 29-year-old son of singer Donny Osmond was accompanying his friend and now teammate Jeremy Holm in a two-man sled at Olympic Park in Park City, Utah, when the speed, pressure and sharp turns began to affect him. The experience was particularly disconcerting for Holm, who was driving at the front of the sled, because Osmond was manning the brakes.

"Jeremy was tapping me on the helmet with his elbow and I wasn't coming to until finally he jarred me a good one," Osmond said.

He awoke shortly after crossing the finish line and pulled hard on the brakes, stopping the sled before it reached the end of the track. The experience was more exhilarating than intimidating for Osmond. He is now a member of Team Holm Racing in both two-man -- where he's a "braker" -- and four-man -- where he's a "pusher."

Osmond said his family may not be known for its athletic ability, but when Holm, who has been bobsledding for about 12 years according to the Team Holm Web site, asked whether he wanted to give the sport a shot, he couldn't say no.

"I don't think many Osmonds participate in sports," he said. "I think most of us are musically inclined. So I thought, 'I'm going to try this.' "

Osmond took up cycling about 16 years ago and said his background with that sport has helped him in training for bobsledding.

Don Osmond, left, and Jeremy Holm compete in the two- and four-man bobsled for Team Holm Racing. (Photo: Vaudene Crosley)
He and his teammates train in the evenings three or four times a week. During the offseason, which usually begins at the end of March and lasts until mid-November, they practice sprints to increase their start speed and lift weights to increase their strength. During the bobsledding season, they head to the track in Park City -- one of only two tracks in the United States (the other is in Lake Placid, N.Y.) -- where they can get three trips down the track in a night.

Osmond is registered with the United States Bobsledding and Skeleton Federation and is eligible to compete in USBSF competitions.

He said the team will compete this season in club and national races, and though none of them have experience at the Olympic level, competing in the 2010 Games in Vancouver is fun to think about.

"Of course it's a goal. It's a dream. It's a wish."

Osmond said the thrill of the sport appeals to him.

"It really is just a roller-coaster to the extreme. ... You're going nearly 80 miles an hour, sometimes a little faster, and pushing anywhere from three to five Gs on some of the turns.

"I like to go fast. That's why I took up cycling. That's why I took up mountain biking. That's why I have a motorcycle. That's why I have a few speeding tickets," he said, laughing.

Because there are only two tracks in the United States and four in all of North America, Osmond said Utah residents should take advantage of the track in Park City to experience the thrill themselves. Even if they aren't interested in competing, they can go for a trial run at the nearby Utah Olympic Park.

He said his family has been very supportive of his participation in the sport, especially his dad.

"My dad loves it; my mother fears for my life."

Though the sport is considered dangerous, so far he has acquired only scrapes and bruises that come from piling into a narrow bobsled with three other men, all of whom wear spiked shoes.

"Those spikes on the tip of your shoe are pretty sharp," Osmond said. "They're about the same as a thumbtack, and you've got about 200 to 300 of them on the bottom of your foot. So when the guy behind you jumps in, if he doesn't do it right, he can actually claw at your calf muscles."

The only lasting injury Osmond has acquired came from that first run he took last December, and it is more of a bruise on his ego than on his body.

"I've been nicknamed 'Blackout at the Track.' "

No comments: