BOBSLED: Mike Kohn joins U.S. bobsled staff
Amanda Bird
(518) 523-1842
June 15, 2011 4:02 PM

Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager
(518) 354-2250,
abird@usbsf.com

Mike Kohn joins U.S. bobsled staff

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (June 15, 2011)-The U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation (USBSF) is proud to announce that Mike Kohn will join U.S. bobsled coaches Brian Shimer, Todd Hays and Janis Skrastins as an assistant coach in an effort to lead the team to the podium through the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

“I am honored to be a part of this very exceptional U.S. coaching staff,” Kohn said. “I have competed throughout the years with Brian, Todd and Janis and I can assure you that no one on the planet wants to win as badly as this staff.”

Kohn, Shimer and Hays made history by breaking a 46-year Olympic medal drought for the U.S. team to start the cycle of success for the men’s team.  Kohn was a member of Shimer’s four-man bobsled crew at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, where the team was expected to finish out of the top 10.  The crew included Dan Steele, who is the twin brother of USBSF CEO Darrin Steele, and Doug Sharp.  Kohn said they were considered the “Cinderella team” of 2002 after they battled back on the final run to claim Olympic bronze.  Hays piloted his squad to an Olympic silver medal performance to hoist two U.S. teams onto the medal stand.

“Winning the bronze medal in our final run just five months after September 11, 2001 and sharing the podium with USA I on U.S. soil was an Olympic dream come true,” Kohn said.

Kohn made the switch from push athlete to pilot after his Olympic success in 2002, and realized his dream as an Olympic bobsled driver at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.  Hays and pilots Steven Holcomb and John Napier were en route to qualifying as the three sleds to represent the U.S. in 2010, but an injury suffered during a training accident early in the season forced Hays into retirement.  Hays immediately turned his attention to helping Kohn qualify in his place.

“Todd’s unexpected and unfortunate injury came at a time when no one thought I had a chance to make the team,” Kohn said.  “We never gave up and continued until the very end, exhausting every option we had available and doing everything we could do within our power to put us in position to qualify.  It’s a true story of what the Olympics are all about.”

Hays helped the squad gain valuable points at the Lake Placid, N.Y. America’s Cup event by sharing his expertise before Kohn joined the World Cup team overseas.  World Champion Curt Tomasevicz, who is Steven Holcomb’s brakeman, volunteered to step down from USA I to give Kohn an extra push during the final qualifying race in the St. Moritz, Switzerland two-man World Cup race.  Thanks to Tomasevicz’s help, Kohn moved up in international points to earn his spot on the Olympic team.

“Curt’s magnanimous gesture is the greatest act of sportsmanship I have ever seen in our sport,” Kohn said.  “It was very patriotic, unselfish and something I will always remember.  I will never forget the entire team cheering for us on our final run and all of the other countries congratulating us.  It was a great honor to represent the U.S. in Vancouver, but it was truly the journey that I will cherish and remember the most.  I’m proud to be a part of this team again.”

Kohn was recruited into bobsledding as a high school student at Chantilly High School in Virginia in 1990 and was the youngest competitor to try out for a spot on the 1992 Olympic team at the age of 18.  With 22 years of experience in the sport, coaching was a natural fit for Kohn after he retired as an athlete in 2010.

The Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) in Lake Placid, N.Y. hired Kohn as a development coach for athletes learning and competing on the combined track at the Olympic Sports Complex on Mount Van Hoevenberg last season. Tony Carlino, manager of the venue, connects Kohn’s career as athlete and coach.  Carlino was Kohn’s first-ever bobsled coach, and gave Kohn his first-ever coaching job with ORDA.

“I am very thankful to ORDA and Tony for the opportunity to work with the development of the team,” Kohn said.  “I learned so much from so many others and have a new appreciation for what it takes to be successful as a coach.  Planning, communicating, discipline, teaching and motivating are just some of the important lessons I learned.”

Kohn will begin his role as national team assistant bobsled coach on July 1, and will accompany the team at the national team camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. next week.

“Mike’s experience as an athlete soldier is going to make him a great leader on this staff,” Shimer said.  “He brings credibility to our team with his experience.  The athletes Todd, Mike and I used to compete against are now leading their teams as coaches, so it’s only fitting that we go to battle with our old rivals in a different role.  It’s fun and challenging as we go head to head with them, and we don’t want to wait another 62-years before we win another Olympic gold medal.”

In addition to his coaching responsibilities, Kohn is also a Staff Sergeant in the Virginia Army National Guard and a member of the Army World Class Athlete Program (WCAP).  He is currently enrolled in Officer Candidate School and hopes to Commission before the season begins.

“It is an honor to represent this great nation as a soldier and U.S. team coach,” Kohn said.  “I am very thankful to the Virginia National Guard and to the Army’s WCAP for all the support I have received to help balance my career as a citizen and a soldier.  The National Guard and the Army have been overwhelmingly supportive of military athletes and I am really excited to be a part of the WCAP program again as a coach.”

Kohn is the son of a former Army Green Beret in the U.S. Army, who is currently serving overseas. Kohn’s mother is an artist and his brother, Nicholas, is a Broadway performer in the Tony Award winning show Avenue Q.  Kohn was recently married to his wife, Jessica, who is an opera singer and a recruiter for NorthWestern Mutual.

For media inquiries, please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager, at abird@usbsf.com, or at (518) 354-2250. 

About the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation
The United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, based in Lake Placid, N.Y., is the national governing body for the sports of bobsled and skeleton in the United States. The USBSF would like to thank its sponsors, suppliers and contributors for their support: BMW Group, Under Armour, Vilter Manufacturing, Kampgrounds of America, KBC Helmets, Graph-Tex, EDAS/Ripxx, Alamo Rent A Car, Tesa Tape and Ferris Mfg. Corp. For more information, please visit the USBSF website at
http://bobsled.teamusa.org.

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