The bobsled is one wild ride

Mike Dionne didn't find bobsledding, bobsledding found him. While reading about the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Mr. Dionne spotted a small ad: "Try out for the Olympic bobsled team."

That sounds like fun, Dionne thought, never dreaming he'd get serious. At the tryout he performed a series of speed and strength tests - and came in first. On the second day of the tryouts, after more tests, he placed first again. Now he was growing more determined. He liked this sport. Fortunately, so did his employer. Dionne is a building-supplies salesman. Since building slows down in winter, his boss let Dionne take a leave of absence and compete in the four-man bobsled.

What's it like?

"Take the fastest, biggest, scariest roller coaster," Dionne says, "and multiply that by about 10." He chuckles as he remembers the time he took his wife for a ride. "What [people] don't expect is the violent shaking," he says. The rattling and vibration is like being inside a giant, broken vacuum cleaner. The runners carving the ice make a loud noise. The wind and the G forces push your head down.

When it comes to bobsledding, Dionne says, people "love it, or totally hate it." Dionne is definitely in the former category. His wife, one suspects, is in the latter.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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