Florida’s Messler, U.S. bobsled team in first place

By Adam Silverstein
February 27, 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 as a bobsledder in his first Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy.

Now a right-side pusher in “Night Train,” a four-man sled squad piloted by Steve Holcomb, Mesler is in line for an Olympic medal if USA-1 can continue its hot start. 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 also captured the 2010 World Cup title (for the first time in 17 years) and the 2010 World Cup overall crown.

Team Holcomb, the medal favorite heading into the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, is in first place with a commanding lead after its first two runs at the Whistler Sliding Centre. Setting track records of 50.89 and 50.86 seconds on each run, USA-1’s combined time is 1 minute and 41.75 seconds – 0.40 seconds ahead of Canada and 0.44 better than a veteran German team.

Mesler occupies 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 in the four-man event for the United States in the Olympics. Video of the first two runs – NBC.

Night Train (USA-1) will take its third and fourth runs, which will determine all three Olympic medals, beginning at 4 p.m. (EST) on Saturday.

One Comment

  1. O-town Gator says:

    This win would be HUGE for Team USA; this team seems determined to win gold this year, and it would be nice to see Steve Mesler win an Olympic medal for his country and Gator Nation!

    (Seems like a LOT of sports news this week with our guys atthe NFL Combine, Gator basketball and the Olympics, but I’m managing!)

    I can’t believe how well Team USA has done overall at these Olympics, and not only would a gold medal by the Night Train crew be nice, it would be awesome to see the US men’s hockey team beat Canada once more time to win gold before all is said and done.

    You can do it, Steve – Go USA and GO GATORS!!!!!!!

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