The four-man bobsled competition at the Winter Olympics this weekend offers the last realistic chance for a Pacific Northwest athlete to bring home a medal. None of the 12 Northwest Olympians in South Korea has stood on the podium so far in these Winter Games.
The Northwest's last hope for a medal from PyeongChang are now riding on Sam Michener and his mates in the USA's No. 3 bobsled. Other expected medal contenders from the Northwest in speedskating and skiing came up short.
Michener is a former University of Idaho track and field standout who tried out for the U.S. bobsled team kind of on a lark in 2012, and then took to it. The 30-year-old from Gresham, Oregon, expects this, his first Olympics, will also be his last.
Michener said he gets violently jostled in the back of the four-man sled.
"As a brakeman, I would say the average age is probably 32 or 33 when guys hang it up and they move on,” Michener said. “Pilots can go a little longer. We've had pilots as old as 36 or 37 years old. Of course, it's less physically demanding for them so they are able to stay in the sport a little bit longer."