Meet the 2022 U.S. Olympic Bobsled Team
by Peggy Shinn
The U.S. women have won medals at every Olympic Winter Games since women’s bobsled debuted at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. Meyers Taylor and Humphries stand a good chance of keeping this streak alive.
Notably, their brakewomen — Sylvia Hoffman and Kaysha Love — are first-time Olympians. Returning Olympians Lauren Gibbs (2018 Olympic silver medalist) and reigning world champion Lolo Jones, who had hoped to finally win an Olympic medal where her journey began in Beijing as a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic track & field team, were not named to the team. Aja Evans, 2014 Olympic bronze medalist, was named as an alternate to the 2022 U.S. Olympic bobsled team.
The U.S. men are not considered medal favorites at the 2022 Games. But don’t count them out. Veteran pilot Hunter Church recently finished on the podium for the second time and hopes to carry that momentum to the Beijing track.
In all, a dozen U.S. bobsledders qualified for the 2022 Winter Games: four women and eight men. They will compete in two events per gender. Unlike the regular world cup races, Olympic bobsled races involve four runs held over two days (rather than two runs in one day), making the sport even more mentally challenging. But Meyers Taylor and Humphries have been there before, as have a few of the brakemen.
Here’s a look at who is on the 2022 U.S. Olympic bobsled team.
Kaillie Humphries poses for a portrait during the Team USA Beijing 2022 Olympic shoot on Sept. 12, 2021 in Irvine, Calif.
Kaillie Humphries is the most decorated woman in bobsled history. The Canadian-American has won three Olympic medals — two golds and a bronze — and 13 world championship medals. She is a four-time world and four-time overall world cup champion in two-woman’s bobsled, and she is the 2021 monobob world champion.
After competing for Canada until 2019, Humphries moved to the U.S. and continued her career with USA Bobsled, finally earning citizenship in December 2021.
In her fourth Olympic Games, Humphries will aim to add two more Olympic medals at the Beijing Winter Games — in women’s bobsled and in the inaugural monobob race. This season, the 36-year-old scored three podium finishes in two-woman bobsled, with one win, and three podium finishes in the women’s monobob world series, again with one win. Look for Humphries and Elana Meyers Taylor to share the podium in both women’s races.
Elana Meyers Taylor poses for a portrait during the Team USA Beijing 2022 Olympic shoot on Sept. 12, 2021 in Irvine, Calif.
When it comes to Olympic and world championship medals, Elana Meyers Taylor is not far behind teammate Humphries. She won an Olympic bronze medal as a brakewoman for Erin Pac at the 2010 Winter Games, then won silver medals at both the 2014 and 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Meyers Taylor is also a two-time women’s bobsled world and overall world cup champion. She’s won 19 world cup races as well.
Heading to her fourth Olympic Games — this time as a mom to son Nico — Meyers Taylor, 37, has been on a roll this season. Thanks to consistent sliding, she is again the overall world cup champion. After four wins in monobob this season, she also claimed the women’s monobob world series title. This go-round, she wants to stand on the Olympic podium twice, with son Nico in her arms. Her husband Nic Taylor was named as an alternate on the men’s team.
Sylvia Hoffman poses for a USA Bobsled and Skeleton photo shoot.
Sylvia Hoffman is a relative newcomer to bobsledding. She played collegiate basketball for the University of Louisiana Shreveport. Then, with the Olympic Games in mind, she moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado, after graduation to compete in weightlifting. But her chances of qualifying for an Olympic Games were slim. So in 2018, she decided to apply for the second season of the scouting program, “The Next Olympic Hopeful,” at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center.
Although Hoffman did not win the scouting competition, the bobsled coaches noticed her and invited her to the rookie push championships in Lake Placid, New York, that summer. She won that competition, then won the national push championships a month later. In her rookie season, she competed on the world cup tour earning a bronze medal pushing Elana Meyers Taylor’s sled. Since then, she has earned six more world cup medals, two of them this season pushing for Humphries. In her Olympic debut, the 32-year-old will be competing for a medal.
In October 2020, Kaysha Love was selected to participate in a 12-day bobsled push camp. A sprinter for the University of Nevada Las Vegas track team, Love had been contacted by a member of the U.S. bobsled team to see if she had any interest in competing in a virtual combine. Her results from the combine caught the attention of the coaches.
The 24-year-old made her world cup debut this season, pushing in six races and never finishing lower than sixth place. Love has one world cup medal in her collection — a gold won with Humphries at a world cup in early December. She will also be competing in Beijing for an Olympic medal at her first Games.
Hunter Church poses for a USA Bobsled and Skeleton photo shoot.
Only a few people in the country can call themselves part of a bobsled family, and Hunter Church is one of them. A third generation bobsledder from Cadyville, New York — an hour north of Lake Placid’s bobsled run — Church was introduced to the sport through his dad and uncle, who were both bobsledders in the 1980s.
By age 12, Church was learning to drive a bobsled. But in competition, he started in the back of the sled. He competed in a handful of North American Cups in high school as a push athlete, then became serious about bobsledding after he graduated, driving in his first NAC as a 19-year-old and working his way onto the podium that year.
Now 25, Church has competed on the world cup tour for the past five seasons. He made the podium for the first time in 2020, becoming the first U.S. bobsled pilot to win a world cup medal since the late Steven Holcomb took third in four-man at the Innsbruck World Cup in February 2017. This season, Church finished Olympic qualification with another bronze medal in the Winterberg World Cup four-man race. A talented four-man bobsled driver, Church will be aiming for the podium in his first Olympic Winter Games.
Few athletes make their world cup debut, then are named to the U.S. Olympic Team two weeks later. But Frank Del Duca did just that. A 2014 graduate of the University of Maine, he has a degree in kinesiology and physical education. Del Duca was a walk-on for the NCAA Division 1 track team and was team captain by his senior year.
An ACL injury cut his collegiate track career short. But Del Duca did not want to end his athletic career on that note. So he tried out for AAA football and became a kicker, punter, and wide receiver for the Southern Maine Raging Bulls. He was also intrigued by bobsled, so tried out and made the national team as a push athlete for the 2015/2016 season.
After missing the 2018 Olympic Team, Del Duca switched to the front of the sled. As a pilot, he worked his way up the North American Cup standings. This season, he finished on the podium in every North American Cup in both two- and four-man bobsled and was invited up to “the big show” after the New Year. From Bethel, Maine, Del Duca is also a member of the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program.
Hakeem Abdul-Saboor poses for a portrait on the Today Show Set on Feb. 12, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea.
Hakeen Abdul-Saboor’s initial dream was to play in the NFL. He earned a scholarship to play football for the University of Virginia at Wise but a torn ACL derailed his football dreams. He pivoted to body building and became a personal trainer. Little did the Virginia native know that he would soon be competing around the world in bobsled — after a USA Bobsled official found a video showing Abdul-Saboor’s explosiveness and leaping skills. Within months, he was competing on the world cup circuit as a push athlete.
Abdul-Saboor made his Olympic debut in 2018 as a brakeman for Nick Cunningham in both the two- and four-man events (finishing 21st and 19th respectively). Now 34, Abdul-Saboor still competes in NPC (National Physique Committee) bodybuilding events. He is also a member of the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program.
Carlo Valdes poses for a portrait during the Team USA Media Summit ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games on Sept. 26, 2017 in Park City, Utah.
A college football and track star, Carlo Valdes played wide receiver for UCLA until he joined the track and field team as a decathlete, and then a javelin thrower. He graduated from UCLA in 2013 with a history degree and was introduced to bobsled by a former Bruin teammate. UCLA track coach Mike Maynard encouraged Valdes to try out for the bobsled team as well (Maynard had coached bobsledders Nick Cunningham and Nic Taylor when they ran track at Boise State).
Valdes made an immediate impact his rookie year (2014) with USA Bobsled, finishing on multiple North American Cup podiums before making his world cup debut in December 2014. During the 2016 and 2017 seasons, Valdes won 10 world cup medals in both two- and four-man races, including a win in the 2016 Lake Placid World Cup two-man event as the brakeman for the late Steven Holcomb. Valdes made his first U.S. Olympic Team in 2018 as a push athlete for Justin Olsen. Now 31, Valdes finished as high as fifth place in two-man this season, pushing for pilot Codie Bascue.
Josh Williamson poses for a USA Bobsled and Skeleton photo shoot.
When Josh Williamson was in high school in Florida, he earned a scholarship to play NCAA Division 1 lacrosse at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. But injuries his freshman year took away that dream, so he transferred to Florida State University and gave up NCAA competition.
However, Williamson continued to work out. Through following a few bobsledders on social media (because he liked their workouts), he realized that he was already training like most Olympic bobsledders. So he showed up in Park City, Utah, for the sport’s combine and did well enough to earn a spot on “Scouting Camp: The Next Olympic Hopeful” in 2017. The show was designed to identify Olympic-caliber athletes. USA Bobsled was scouting for talent that year, so Williamson earned a spot on the team.
In January 2018, he competed with Hunter Church at the U23 world championships, finishing sixth. Soon Williamson was a world cup regular, winning his first world cup medal (bronze) in four-man as a brakeman for Hunter Church two years later. In early January 2022, Williamson, now 25 years old, won another world cup bronze, again in Church’s four-man sled. Look for Williamson to keep the momentum going to his first Olympic Games.
After playing football (running back) and running track (sprints) at Princeton University, Charlie Volker had dreams of playing in the NFL. He ranked No. 7 of all-time at Princeton in rushing yards, so after graduating in 2019 with a BA in history, he began training for the big league. But when COVID-19 shut down football training camps in spring 2020, Volker pivoted to bobsled at the suggestion of a trainer. His speed and strength showed immediately.
After winning the national push championship title last summer, Volker, 24, made his world cup debut in November 2021, pushing Hunter Church to eighth place in four-man. Two months later, in January 2022, he won his first world cup medal (bronze) with Church, again in four-man bobsled. Less than 18 months after trying out for bobsled, Volker is headed to his first Olympic Games.
Jimmy Reed (M) celebrates after the second run of the 4-man bobsleigh at the BMW IBSF World Cup on Jan. 29, 2017 in Koenigssee, Germany.
Like pilot Frank Del Duca, Jimmy Reed ran track (hurdles) while studying exercise science at the University of Maine. His track coach had been on the U.S. bobsled team for a year and piqued Reed’s interest in the sport. So after graduation in 2014, Reed tried out for the team and made it, becoming a push athlete for the late Steven Holcomb. Over the next three seasons, Reed earned four world cup medals in the back of Holcomb’s four-man bobsled.
But Reed’s Olympic dream veered a bit off course when he was named as an alternate to the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team. He has dedicated the past Olympic quadrennial to making the Olympic roster outright. Pushing for Hunter Church, he made the podium again in 2020. When not competing, Reed, 30, calls Garmisch, Germany, home.
An All-American pentathlete and decathlete at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Kris Horn set school records in both events and won the 2017 New England decathlon title. He also ranks second all-time in UMass’s track program’s outdoor high jump records. And before college, he was the 2012 decathlon high school national champion.
Horn earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 2017 and made his bobsled debut a year later. Within a few months, he was competing on the world cup tour and earned a bronze medal at the 2019 world championships in the team event. Horn, 27, also has won two world cup bronze medals as a push athlete for Hunter Church.