Like many bobsledders, brakewoman Sylvia Hoffman has been passionate about a number of sports throughout her life. She originally played basketball for Louisiana State University Shreveport. Several years after graduating, she was asked to join the training camp for USA Bobsled — but initially declined due to finances. Hoffman took up weightlifting and competed internationally, but her athletic dreams really rocketed after participating in reality TV show Scouting Camp: Next Olympic Hopeful. USA Bobsled again took notice, and invited her to attend rookie training camp. That same calendar year, Hoffman won the Rookie Push and National Push Championships.
As early as the 2019-2020 season, Hoffman occasionally teamed up with pilot Kaillie Humphries on the World Cup circuit; Hoffman would sometimes slide with pilot Elana Meyers Taylor the following season. During the most recent World Cup season, Hoffman and Humphries earned two bronze medals in Altenberg and Winterberg, Germany.
Kaillie Humphries, a two-time Olympic champion from Canada, switched to representing the United States in 2019 because of abuse and harassment she alleges she faced within Canadian bobsledding. Since joining Team USA, the pilot has won three world titles: two-woman in 2020 and 2021, and the inaugural women’s monobob title in 2021. During the 2021-22 Bobsled World Cup season, Humphries was second in monobob and fifth in the two-woman standings.
Humphries’ status for the 2022 Winter Olympics was in limbo as she awaited U.S. citizenship — until Dec. 2, 2021, when she finally had her citizenship ceremony in San Diego, California. She won her first race as an American citizen just two days later at the IBSF World Cup stop in Altenberg, Germany.
For Canada, Humphries won back-to-back bobsled golds in the two-woman at Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014; she is the first woman to defend her bobsled title at the Olympics. Humphries earned bronze at the 2018 PyeongChang Games.
Herriman, Utah native Kaysha Love is a recent graduate of the University of Las Vegas, Nevada, where she studied hospitality management. Love excelled in track and field as a collegiate athlete. She became a professional bobsledder only recently, primarily competing as brakewoman alongside Elana Meyers Taylor during the 2021-2022 Bobsled World Cup season; Meyers Taylor ultimately ranked first in the two-woman event. However, Love earned her sole World Cup gold at the Altenberg event, teaming with Kaillie Humphries.
Elana Meyers Taylor
Pilot Elana Meyers Taylor is a three-time Olympian who has won a medal at each Games, most recently taking silver at PyeongChang 2018 with pusher Lauren Gibbs. She married fellow elite bobsledder (and 2022 Games alternate) Nic Taylor in 2018. The two welcomed their first child, Nico, just ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic. Meyers Taylor played collegiate softball at Georgetown University, but after her dreams in that sport didn’t pan out, she turned to bobsled and made her Olympic debut in 2010.
Throughout her career, Meyers Taylor has been an advocate for women’s and racial equality in sports. In June 2020, she penned a first-person essay on TeamUSA.org detailing instances of racism she experienced in the sport, prompting USA Bobsled & Skeleton to launch an investigation. At the 2022 Winter Games, Meyers Taylor will compete in both the two-woman discipline and the newly added women’s monobob.
Becoming a mom hasn’t slowed down Meyers Taylor. She ranked first in the monobob and two-woman standings at the 2021-22 Bobsled World Cup series, which wrapped up about a month before the upcoming Games.
Meyers Taylor experienced a rollercoaster ride at these Olympics before competition even began. Shortly after touching down, she tested positive for COVID-19 and was kept in isolation. A few days later, she received news that she had been selected as the United States’ flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony, but instead gave the honor to speed skater Brittany Bowe. On Feb. 5, the bobsledder was cleared to compete.
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Though he had dreams of becoming an NFL player, Powhatan, Virginia native Hakeem Abdul Saboor sustained a torn ACL while playing football for the University of Virginia at Wise. Post-college, he turned to professional bodybuilding and personal training – eventually causing the U.S. Olympic Committee to take notice. They guided him towards the ice.
Abdul-Saboor started bobsledding in 2015. He competed in his first Games as a pusher just 3 years later, finishing 21st in the two-man (with Nick Cunningham) and 19th in the four-man (alongside Cunningham, Christopher Kinney, and Samuel Michener).
As one of two male Team USA bobsled pilots headed to the 2022 Winter Olympics, Hunter Church carries the weight of a men’s medal on his shoulders. With those same shoulders, he also also has to steer more than half a ton of machinery, men, and equipment.
Church was born on October 30th, 1996, and calls Cadyville, New York his hometown. Bobsled runs in his blood: A great-uncle raced in the 1948 Olympic trials, and his father also sledded competitively. Hunter first rode a bobsled at only 7 years old, and entered in a junior bobsled program 5 years later.
With teammates Joshua Williamson, Charles Volkner, and Kris Horn, Church took four-man bronze at the Winterberg, Germany World Cup stop this past season. He finished tenth in the season standings for the discipline — the only American to crack the top ten.
Frank Del Duca
The second of Team USA’s bobsled pilots, Florida-born Frank Del Duca was a star sprinter at the University of Maine. On the track, he became close friends with teammate Jimmy Reed. Reed joined the bobsled team shortly after graduating college, and invited Del Duca to attend a USA Bobsled and Skeleton Federation tryout camp in 2015. Though he started as a pusher behind gold medalist Steve Holcomb, Del Duca ultimately became a driver within 2 years.
Del Duca is a member of the U.S. Army, and competes as part of the military’s World Class Athlete Program. In his spare time, Del Duca loves playing with his dog, Sonni.
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Previous Olympics: N/A
Events: Two-man, four-man
Brakeman Kristopher “Kris” Horn was a track and field star at University of Massachusetts Amherst, setting records in decathlon and heptathlon. The Atlantic named him one of the 10 Most Outstanding Field Performer for indoors sports in 2016. Horn graduated from college in 2017.
Horn has earned bronze at two four-man Bobsled World Cup stops, including Innsbruck 2020 and Winterberg 2022. At the 2019 Whistler World Championships, he and his teammates also took bronze.
James “Jimmy” Reed
Previous Olympics: N/A
Events: Two-man, four-man
Born in Bloomington, Indiana, Jimmy Reed moved to Garmisch, Germany as a child while his father worked for the Department of Defense. During his 16 years abroad, he attended Munich International School for high school.
Reed later competed in track and field at the University of Maine alongside now-bobsled pilot Frank Del Duca; during that time, running coach David Cusano often talked about how much fun bobsled was, and implored Reed to give the sport a shot. After graduating college in 2014, Reed did exactly that. He excelled during a bobsled combine test event and joined USA Bobsled days later.
Reed was an alternate during PyeongChang 2018, but did not compete. He has excelled primarily in the four-man discipline: Reed’s World Cup results include a silver at the Lake Placid 2016 event and four bronze medals, most recently at the Innsbruck 2020 stop.
He announced via social media that, after 8 years with the sport, Reed would compete professionally for the last time at the 2022 Games.
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Newport Beach, California’s Carlo Valdes will celebrate a birthday during the Games: The soon-to-be two-time Olympian will turn 32 just three days before bobsled’s two-man event begins.
A University of California Los Angeles alumnus, Valdes brings with him Olympic experience (and an incredibly impressive mustache). Previously, Valdes finished 20th in the four-man discipline at the 2018 Games behind pilot Justin Olsen and alongside teammates Nathan Weber and Christopher Fogt.
Speaking to PEOPLE CHICA, Valdes recounted representing the United States during PyeongChang’s Opening Ceremony as “the ultimate dream come true” and “one of the greatest experiences of my life.” He also discussed his Mexican heritage, saying that he hopes to inspire more Latino athletes to get involved with Olympic sports.
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Fair Haven, New Jersey’s Charlie Volker dominated as a running back and sprinter at Princeton University before graduating in 2019. When he received his diploma, Volker even ranked seventh all-time in rushing yards at Princeton. Unfortunately, the pandemic disrupted Volker’s plans to attend an NFL minicamp – the next step on his path to a professional football career. A trainer suggested he try bobsledding.
Volker competed on the U.S. national team just months after he entered his first bobsled in fall 2020. As a brakeman, he and teammates Hunter Church, Hakeem Abdul-Saboor, and Joshua Williamson won the 2021 North American Cup event in Lake Placid last February. Most recently, Volker helped power Team Church’s four-man sled to a bronze medal at the Winterberg, Germany 2021-2022 Bobsled World Cup stop.
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Brakeman Josh Williamson hails from Lake Mary, Florida, where he played football until he discovered lacrosse in the sixth grade. Williamson became extremely passionate about a sport that was mostly obscure in his hometown. Still, his lacrosse skills earned him a scholarship to Georgia’s Mercer University and the opportunity to compete in Division I matches.
Leaving lacrosse after a year of injuries, Williamson still maintained the fire to compete. Bobsled videos on social media inspired him to sign up for a combine in Park City, Utah. Success came through the reality TV show “Scouting Camp: The Next Olympic Hopeful,” which tried to match up-and-coming athletes with an Olympic sport. Bobsled was a (mostly) natural fit.
Williamson made his International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation-recognized debut in November 2017 by winning a North American Cup event in Whistler, Canada. He has since earned two World Cup bronze medals at Innsbruck 2020 and Winterberg 2022.
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