Ex-Gators decathlete going for gold in Vancouver

By Adam Silverstein
February 9, 2010

Former and current Florida Gators student-athletes usually find a home in the Summer Olympics; however, when it comes to the Winter Olympics, appearances are few and far between. That changed in 2006 when Steve Mesler, a scholarship decathlete who earned a degree in exercise and sport science from the University of Florida in 2000, competed in his first Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy.

After graduation, Mesler wanted to continue his athletic career and tried out for bobsled in San Diego, CA, in June 2001. After practicing with Todd Hays’ four-man team for a few years, Mesler participated in the 2006 Games in Torino; his team’s sled would finish in seventh place.

Four seasons with Hays’ team was enough for Mesler, who moved on to the aptly nicknamed “Night Train,” a four-man sled squad piloted by Steve Holcomb. Night Train has been on a tear since coming together, starting with winning the 2009 World Championships in Lake Placid, NY, the United States’ first four-man world title in 50 years. The team has since captured the 2010 World Cup title (for the first time in 17 years) and the 2010 World Cup overall crown.

Team Holcomb is now the medal favorite heading into the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver with Mesler occupying the third slot in the sled. On each run, he is responsible for managing the balance and speed of the sled, partially due to the fact that he is the team’s fastest member stemming from his days as a decathlete with the Gators.

The two-time Olympian (he was a reserve in 2002) is a key member of the USA-1 sled, which could be the first in 62 years (since 1948) to bring home a gold medal for the United States in the Olympics. “Right now, we are the team to beat,” Holcomb told the Associated Press on Friday.

Keep an eye out for the futuristic-looking, shiny black USA-1 “Night Train” sled at the Whistler Sliding Centre during the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.



OGGOA Related Story: Mesler’s family was scammed out of $7,332 and lodging by a Whistler house rental company. They have since received the money back.

4 Comments

  1. Mark01 says:

    U-S-A! U-S-A!

    Go Gators

  2. Thomas says:

    No such thing as “ex-Gators” in regards to former students and alumni.

    They are still Gators.

  3. Using “ex-” and “former” is a way to differentiate those who used to play and compete at Florida from those who still do.

  4. O-town Gator says:

    I’m a HUGE supporter of the Olympics, and even though the state of Florida’s not really known for sending athletes to the Winter games we’ve had a little bit of success; not that long ago we had a bobsledder from the Gulf Coast (Brian Shimer) pick up a bronze on one of the 4-man teams.

    Good luck to Steve Mesler and the rest of Team USA; represent us well!

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