U.S. bobsledding star Steven Holcomb, a three-time Olympic medalist who competed in three Olympics after beating a disease that nearly robbed him of his eyesight, was found dead in Lake Placid, New York, on Saturday. He was 37.
It’s unclear exactly how Holcomb died but foul play was not suspected, the Associated Press reports.
Holcomb after winning the bronze medal in the two-man bobsled during the Sochi 2014 Olympics. (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)
“The entire Olympic family is shocked and saddened by the incredibly tragic loss today of Steven Holcomb,” said Scott Blackmun, United States Olympic Committee CEO. “Steve was a tremendous athlete and even better person, and his perseverance and achievements were an inspiration to us all. Our thoughts and prayers are with Steve’s family and the entire bobsledding community.”
“It would be easy to focus on the loss in terms of his Olympic medals and enormous athletic contributions to the organization, but USA Bobsled & Skeleton is a family and right now we are trying to come to grips with the loss of our teammate, our brother and our friend,” USA Bobsled & Skeleton CEO Darrin Steele stated.
The native of Park City, Utah, Holcomb was a three-time Olympian, and his signature moment came at the 2010 Vancouver Games when he piloted his four-man sled to a win that snapped a 62-year drought for the U.S. in bobsled’s signature race.
Holcomb’s bobsledding success was not always so clear. In 2007 he was so distraught over a degenerative eye disorder called keratoconus that was threatening to derail his career, that he had attempted to commit suicide by swallowing 73 sleeping pills in a hotel room.
Surgery saved Holcomb’s eyesight and helped make his bobsledding career.
“I attempted suicide, and when I woke up, it was a moment in my life that I realized that I had a bigger purpose,’’ Holcomb had said. “It’s been a tough journey, but it’s been amazing.”