Carson High grad Chase Blueberg slides closer to Olympic bobsled dream
When Carson High grad and Carson City native Chase Blueberg found out he had qualified for the U.S. Olympic bobsled team this past summer, he had still never been down a bobsled track before.
Now touring in Europe, Blueberg has experienced the full spectrum of what Olympic bobsled will be all about – from speeds pushing 100-plus mph, to 5Gs of force, to crashes leaving him sliding down the track.
His crash came in his most recent run in Königssee, Germany, which Blueberg escaped relatively unscathed outside of some bumps and bruises.
“I got the full spectrum of everything that comes with this now,” Blueberg said, following the crash.
Racing through Europe
Blueberg has not only stopped to race in Germany, but also St. Moritz, Switzerland and Innsbruck, Austria and has been racing against national teams from all around the globe.
The Carson High graduate’s first runs down the track signified how many things have changed since his spur-of-the-moment decision to tryout for the Olympic team.
“You feel like you’re Captain America. The guys here, we all understand this is pretty cool,” Blueberg said. “Getting to compete against the best these other countries have to offer. To get to wear the stars and stripes is a dream come true.”
Blueberg has been racing in a two-man bobsled group, alongside his teammate and driver Tyler Hickey.
The former Atlanta Braves draft pick said starting in a two-man crew is much easier than jumping into a four-man team out of the gate.
As the brakeman, Blueberg‘s main responsibility is getting the sled off to the fastest start possible.
From there, it’s all trust.
After pushing the sled out of the gate, aiming for a start time in the low five-second range, Blueberg piles into the back of the sled in an effort to make himself as small as possible.
“It was the funnest version of being stuffed in a trash can and thrown off a cliff,” joked Blueberg. “My head is to my knees and when you’re going around those big turns you’re folded in half.”
While riding down the track, bobsledders can experience more than 5 Gs of force. For comparison, the Space Shuttle experienced a maximum of 3 Gs of force on launch.
Blueberg remembers one turn in particular where he nearly passed out from G-forces.
“I can remember thinking, ‘this isn’t all that bad,’ and then we hit a turn called horseshoe. It’s called horseshoe for a reason,” Blueberg said. “I remember thinking I went into a black hole or something because the sound was gone. It was getting dark. I almost passed out in that turn.”
Road to the Olympics
After initially making the Olympic team, Blueberg started a GoFundMe page to help raise funds for the cost of transporting not only himself, but also all the equipment needed to compete, including the sled itself.
As of Friday afternoon, Blueberg had raised nearly half of his $25,000 goal and had the upmost gratitude toward anyone who helped contribute to his dream.
“Thank you, from the bottom of my heart,” Blueberg said. “To feel moved enough to give something that either they have no idea what bobsledding is or have no idea who I am, but they want to give somebody a shot to win a gold medal one day. The amount of support that I got was tremendous.”
The whirlwind of the last few months have been about as hectic as Blueberg imagined flying down an icy bobsled track would be.
The 23-year-old is nearly done with competitions for the season, but will be back in Park City, Utah from Feb. 25-29 for another training session.
After that, the homegrown athlete will continue trying to raise funds to keep his dreams of competing in Beijing in 2022 alive.
“It’s been a wild ride and I’ve been riding this wave for the past few months and I’m excited for what’s going to come in the future,” Blueberg said. “I’m excited to be the guy to get to live this dream.”
To donate to Blueberg’s GoFundMe page, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/chase-blueberg-team-usa-bobsled.