Two-time Olympic bobsled competitor Nick Cunningham wanted to be a race car driver, but in the sport of bobsled he found the thrill he was seeking.
“It’s loud, you’re getting rocked back and forth…The controlled chaos is what brings us back every day,” said Cunningham. “I wouldn’t trade this for anything.”
Nearly 40 athletes from the USA Skeleton and Bobsled teams stopped by the Lake Placid/Whiteface Mountain KOA on Aug. 27 for a meet-and-greet with KOA campers and the general public. Cunningham, who came to Lake Placid, NY two years ago to try out for the USA Bobsled Team, spoke to a robust crowd about the sport of bobsledding, and Gracie Clapp-Taylor discussed skeleton racing. Audience members were invited to sit in an actual bobsled and try out a skeleton sled, and team members answered questions and signed autographs for the attendees.
USA Bobsled and Skeleton athletes then coached young competitors in a swim/bike/run triathlon, helped kids in a scavenger hunt around the campground, and stayed for a barbecue to raise money for KOA Care Camps, which helps send children with cancer to medically supervised camps.
Kampgrounds of America, Inc. is a proud sponsor of the USA Bobsled and Skeleton teams and hosted the meet-and-greet. Cunningham and team members expressed enthusiasm for the event and for being able to spend time with kids motivating them to follow their dreams and possibly pursue a future in Olympic sports.
“It is possible,” Cunningham said. “We are walking living proof that we never gave up.” The Bobsled and Skeleton teams are currently training at the Lake Placid Olympic facility with their sights set on 2018 Winter Olympics.
The event raised nearly $500 for KOA Care Camps, bringing Lake Placid / Whiteface Mountain’s fundraising to more than $4,500 for the year, more than double what they set out initially to raise.
“For children going through cancer treatment and their families, being able to camp and play outdoors without worry is huge,” said campground manager Chip Grundon. “It’s a great feeling to be part of such an important cause.”