We love Cinderella stories, and this year, USA Bobsled has two! On October 26, USA Bobsled & Skeleton announced its 2018-19 national team. The bobsled team includes veterans such as three-time U.S. Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor, and two newcomers discovered at 24 Hour Fitness: Josh Williamson and Sylvia Hoffman.
Both Williamson and Hoffman surfaced through “Scouting Camp: The Next Olympic Hopeful,” a talent-identification program created by the United States Olympic Committee. 24 Hour Fitness is a sponsor of Next Olympic Hopeful, and hosted exclusive in-club tryouts in 2017 and again, this year.
That’s where Williamson and Hoffman’s journeys began. Williamson—a huge bobsled fan—kept his ambitions quiet, and even though he was recovering from shoulder surgery, made a last-minute decision to try out in 2017 without telling anyone but his parents (as he was headed out the door). Much to his surprise, he made it to the finals and was selected the bobsled winner on the televised competition held at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Within just months, Williamson went from tryouts to the sled, helping Team USA athletes to medal in international competition.
Hoffman, a multi-sport athlete whose prowess earned her a college scholarship, had put her dreams of U.S. Olympic competition on hold for a career as a software engineer. Motivated by the possibility of another shot at her deepest wish, Hoffman had to stay home in 2017 due to an injury but made the 90-minute drive from her home to the 2018 tryouts at a 24 Hour Fitness in Denver. She advanced to the finals but didn’t win. That didn’t matter to USA Bobsled coaches, who saw her potential. They asked Hoffman to start training … and October 26, her greatest wish came true when she was named to the U.S. Women’s National Bobsled Team.
Williamson and Hoffman’s stories are reminders that dreams have no expiration date—and they can become a reality. Congratulations, Josh and Sylvia!