Winter Olympics: Dallas Robinson Finds Unexpected Success in a Bobsled
Dallas Robinson is an athlete, always has been and, if it is up to him, always will be. Yet, the Kentucky native never thought he would be flying down a track at speeds of up to 80 mph in a bobsled.
Robinson was a football player and a track star at Oldham County High School in Buckner, KY. He then took his speed to Eastern Kentucky University where he continued his success on the football field and on the track.
After graduating with a degree in Communications Studies at EKU, Robinson took a high-paying sales job in Lexington, KY. Although he was making around $100,000 a year, the athlete inside of him was dying to get out.
The then 25 year-old decided to quit his job and began training as a sprinter for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
“I believe I’m going to end up in the Olympics,” Robinson told Lynn Zinser of The New York Times in 2008, “I don’t know how I’m going to get there. But I guess if the mountain were smooth, you wouldn’t be able to climb it.”
Robinson was training hard and was doing well in competition with respectable numbers. His Olympic dream was starting to become a reality—until he tore his left hamstring in a competition at Georgia Tech.
The 6'4” athlete thought his shot of becoming an Olympian was over and went back to work. Robinson then received a surprising phone call from the USA rugby team coach, Al Caravelli. Robinson was able to make the USA National Rugby team, but once again was stopped short due to an injury.
Robinson then found a new passion: coaching track at Lexington Christian Academy and Berea College. He retired from high-level competition and got married to his wife Lauren. He grew close to the athletes he coached, especially a senior at Berea named Phil Miller. Miller, like Robinson, had a strong desire to continue to pursue a career in athletics after college. Robinson told Miller that if he was going to make it to the next level, he needed to start now.
“Phil's senior year was 2010,” Robinson recalled. “When he was leaving he and I had the what-are-you-going-to-do-with-your-life talk that often big brothers, coaches or fathers have with someone they care about. Phil expressed to me that he had always had a strong desire to try and continue athletics of some sort at the next level. I encouraged him that if he were to ever try it now would be a good time...a life time of regret is a long life to live I told him.”
Robinson then gave Miller the advice of trying out for the USA Bobsled team. Miller flew out to Park City, Utah and did well in his combine. He did so well that he was asked to push for a team.
Robinson described what happened next, saying, “I feel like Phil and I spoke weekly about his adventure, training, living environment while out there, etc. As the season came closer Phil called and asked me if I would consider coming out and racing in an America's Cup race with his driver on his four-man team. I initially wasn't very interested as I hate any and all heights, I really hate cold weather, I get very motion sick and lastly I was very happy coaching kids and hanging out in the comfort of my home with the woman of my dreams. Phil's driver, John Bagley, eventually called me and told me he would cover my expenses to get out there and allow me to stay with him and his family to further reduce cost.”
Robinson flew out to Utah to help his former student and became hooked on the sport of bobsledding.
Since that race in Utah, Robinson has teamed up with driver Nick Cunningham. He is currently on the USA-2 team and is a proud member of the Army World Class Athlete Program.
This is Robinson's first season actually training and participating in the combine and push championships, which is what they use to rank athletes and decide who will represent USA in the World Cup season. Last month, he finished third in the U.S. National Bobsled Push Championship in Lake Placid, NY with a time of 8.85 seconds.
Robinson is also in training and hoping to be competing in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He would be a part of the USA-2 team.
“There are lots of variables between now and Sochi and nothing is guaranteed in this sport or life," Robinson said. “I don't pretend for one second that I will be going to Sochi; I simply just wake up and work my hardest to represent the greatest country on earth.”
With the Winter Olympics 15 months away, Robinson's dream of becoming an Olympian is almost a reality.
“My wife reminds me all the time that the Lord is choosing to use me through bobsled right now and regardless of how it turns out we are being diligent in trying our hardest every day to do His will.”
Jon Hancock is a contributor for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.
You can follow Jon on Twitter @JonKYSportsCo
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