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Back on track: Soldier Olympian set to resume sliding

Team USA bobsledders Steven Holcomb, Justin Olsen, Steve Mesler and Curtis Tomasevicz won a gold medal during the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

TIM HIPPS/DEFENSE DEPARTMENT

By TIM REYNOLDS | Associated Press | Published: February 14, 2018

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — U.S. Army National Guardsmen Sgt. Justin Olsen has used his time off wisely, and he thinks he is ready to get in a sled again.

The U.S. bobsledder who underwent an emergency appendectomy shortly before the start of the Pyeongchang Olympics will be in his sled Thursday for the start of official two-man training.

Olsen was at the Alpensia Sliding Center on Wednesday with U.S. coach Brian Shimer, checking out the venue. It was his first time that Olsen, a member of the 2010 four-man gold-medal-winning team for the U.S. in a sled driven by the late Steven Holcomb, ventured out since his laparoscopic surgery.

"I feel really good," Olsen said. "It's nice to get back to the track."

Olsen is one of three U.S. men's drivers at the Pyeongchang Games, along with Codie Bascue and Nick Cunningham, and they all will be competing in the two- and four-man events.

In two-man, which will be contested Sunday and Monday, Olsen will be in the sled with Evan Weinstock. In four-man, scheduled for Feb. 24 and 25 — the final two days of these Olympics — he will be pushed by Nathan Weber, Carlo Valdes and Olympic medalist Chris Fogt.

Other than for workouts and meals, Olsen has largely been recuperating in his room during the Olympics. That's given him plenty of time to check out every other race and training session on the sliding track, and he's hopeful that the extra studying will pay off.

"I've been watching the luge races and skeleton training from my phone while resting in bed and I'm ready to get back on ice," Olsen said. "I've spent my time here in the village and it feels good to be out and back here."

The tentative plan calls for Olsen to take part in both training runs Thursday, though he may start at least one inside the sled instead of pushing and jumping in like normal.

"We'll be ready to fire it off," Olsen said.

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