U.S. Olympic champion bobsledder Steven Holcomb was found dead in his room at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, New York. Steven Holcomb was 37 years old, according to USA Today. The shocking news was announced by the U.S. Olympic Committee on Saturday. According to the USOC, no details were available regarding Steven Holcomb’s cause of death. Scott Blackmun, the USOC CEO, revealed the Olympic community is shocked and devastated by the news.
“The entire Olympic family is shocked and saddened by the incredibly tragic loss today of Steven Holcomb… Steve was a tremendous athlete and even better person, and his perseverance and achievements were an inspiration to us all. Our thoughts and prayers are with Steve’s family and the entire bobsledding community.”
In the 2010 Vancouver Games, Steven Holcomb won an Olympic gold medal, leading “Night Train” to victory in the four-man bobsled competition. This was the first U.S. gold medal in the event since 1948. Four years later in Sochi, he went on to win bronze medals in both two-man and four-man bobsled.
In 2008, Holcomb underwent experimental eye surgery to correct a disorder called keratoconus. This disorder can distort vision and can often lead to blindness. Before the corrective surgery, Holcomb battled depression. In his 2012 book, But Now I See: My Journey From Blindness to Olympic Gold, he revealed that he attempted suicide in 2007.
“Depression isn’t something you catch in the wind one day and get sick the next.. It is a gradual, degenerative process, much like my keratoconus. And just like my blindness, I chose to battle the demon on my own, without telling anyone or seeking help from others.”
Steven Holcomb joined the World Cup circuit as a brakeman in 1998 and became one of the most decorated bobsled pilots in the world. Holcomb won 60 World Cup medals and 10 medals at world championships in addition to his three Olympic medals. The Park City, Utah, native became a five-time world champion, according to USA Today.
Holcomb finished the season ranked No. 2 in two-man bobsled on the World Cup circuit and third in four-man. In March he competed at the track that will host next year’s Olympics. Holcomb even posted photos on social media from Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Darrin Steele, USA Bobsled & Skeleton CEO, disclosed as much as was allowed. Brant Feldman has Holcomb’s agent since 2009 also said he could not release any details on Holcomb’s cause of death.
“It would be easy to focus on the loss in terms of his Olympic medals and enormous athletic contributions to the organization, but USA Bobsled & Skeleton is a family and right now we are trying to come to grips with the loss of our teammate, our brother and our friend.”
Holcomb’s agent said he recently spent a week with Steven in Los Angeles, California, for NBC promos in advance of the PyeongChang Olympics. They were also involved in a documentary about Holcomb. Feldman was working with a prospective new sponsor who planned to fly Holcomb and his father out to the Indy 500 later this month.
“Everything was cool… We were talking about when he wanted to retire, and he told me with the world championships being in Whistler in 2019, that would be his swan song.”
Feldman remembered Holcomb as an incredible friend and teammate. In 2014, Holcomb asked the sponsor of his helmet to provide gear for some of the women’s bobsledders.
“Steven was, for the people that really got to know him, they really loved this guy. He was quiet and he was reserved and quiet and nature, but his word was his bond… If you were on Steven’s team, you were on his team. He was the type of guy that was extremely loyal to those around him that were his friends. The really close friends that he had are devastated right now.
“I’m getting messages from all over the place right now, and everyone is surprised. Steve was truly loved by a lot of people.”
[Featured Image by Harry How/Getty Images]