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Barlow grad makes USA Olympic bobsled team

The Winter Games get under way in Pyeongchang, South Korea next month, and the Portland-area will be represented in r...

Posted: Jan. 21, 2018 7:05 PM
Updated: Jan. 21, 2018 7:05 PM

The Winter Games get under way in Pyeongchang, South Korea next month, and the Portland-area will be represented in red, white and blue.

Sam Michener missed out on the Sochi Games in 2014, but after four years of training and traveling, he is now a member of the U.S. National Bobsled Team.

"You could hear a pin drop. That room is very quiet between the athletes," said Michener.

Monday was a rather special one for Michener.

"When he said my name, I got a little emotional actually," Michener said. "I would say my eyes got a little watery. I wouldn't say tears were running down my face but I don't know if I was breathing either. I was pretty stone-cold."

A cold-blooded athlete, the 30-year-old one-time all-state football player and state track and field champion at Barlow High School is a brakeman. He was one of 12 selected for the three four-man U.S.A. teams to qualify for the Winter Games.

"We have a good shot. We have a very competitive team this year, and anything can happen on any given day so if we put it together there is no reason why we shouldn't be battling for a podium spot," said Michener.

Michener has been an athlete his whole life, competing in track at the University of Idaho.

It was in Moscow where he made his bobsled connection.

"My sports psychologist, we called him 'Trin,' he was on the Trinidad and Tobago bobsled team in the 80's. He actually competed in the Calgary Olympics in 1988," Michener said.

Michener has already tested out the Olympic track during a three-week stay Pyeongchang in March. And like fellow Barlow grad Ryan Crouser in the Rio Summer Games, Michener dreams of wearing a gold medal around his neck back in his hometown.

"It's pretty special that Barlow High School has two people representing them in the two past Olympics. I am pretty sure that's pretty rare around the nation," said Michener.

Twenty-six days away from the states, Michener knows what his last American meal will be before departing for South Korea.

"I am going to have a slice of pizza, man. A big, dirty slice of pizza. It's going to be pepperoni, mushroom and olive," he said.

Michener and the U.S. squad are off to Calgary for training camp before taking flight to South Korea on Feb. 1.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for his parents, Steve and Sherry, so they can see their son compete for the country. Anyone who would like to help can visit www.gofundme.com/help-sams-biggest-fans-go-to-korea

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