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Dallas Robinson, Georgetown College assistant track & field coach, has been pursuing his love to compete most of his life. Sunday night his passion turned into an Olympic dream. The USA Bobsledding team officially announced its roster for Sochi, and Robinson was one of 15 athletes (male and female) on it.
"If it weren't for running such a great indoor season in track and being ranked Top 5 in the USA, I wouldn't have even given it a second thought," Robinson said about an Olympic dream. "Then I started bobsledding to help a student-athlete and competed for two years before I even bothered to train for it or tryout.
"I figured, well I've gone this far and it seems this is the Lord's plan for this phase of my life. I might as well jump in with both feet now and live on faith here."
His first response to the idea of doing bobsledding was 'no thanks'. The heights, the cold weather and traveling just did not fit. However, a former athlete of his, Phil Miller, had a dream of competing and had a slot for a fourth member.
"I didn't want to and thought I wouldn't," Robinson said. "But, I went to Park City, Utah, and, as expected, I didn't like it. However, four years later I'm heading to Sochi, Russia, as a representative of the United States of America. Talk about the Lord having other plans for your life."
Robinson has been competing for four years, but was two years into it is when he started to get serious. He began lifting two times a day and running once.
The bobsledding world has opened up an array of new techniques for Robinson, as it has for several former track athletes, most notably Lolo Jones who made the women's bobsledding team for Sochi. The United States programs have developed into one of the premier organizations in the world. From 1964-1998, the US won zero medals in the Olympics. However, starting with the 2002 games in Salt Lake, the four-man teams have won three of the nine medals handed out. Robinson has been part of the past several seasons of success. In the 2013-14 World Cup, Robinson served as a the brakeman for Nick Cunningham on the two-man sled that took silver in Park City and bronze in Lake Placid. Two years prior to that, he served as brakeman for Cunningham as they won two gold medals in the America's Cup. That same season, Robinson served as push athlete for Cunningham's four-man crew that took a silver in Lake Placid.
"Nick and I have fared pretty well this season in the two-man sled," Robinson said. "We finished the first half of the World Cup season ranked No. 2."
Robinson serves as the brakeman for both two- and four-man teams. He is the last to get into the sled, doing the pushing from the rear. He is also responsible for stopping the sled at the bottom of the track.
Georgetown has definitely reaped the benefits of Robinson's enthusiasm and desires. While Olympic bobsledding is not a tool he uses in recruiting, the track and field Tigers did have Georgetown College's largest incoming class this past summer.
"My greatest desire is to be a positive motivation and leader to our youth," Robinson said. "I want to be a professional coach, friend and Christian more than anything else in the world. Georgetown has given me that opportunity and allowed me to continue pursuing my Olympic dream as a Soldier Athlete, Sgt. in the Kentucky National Guard, also.
"Georgetown's program speaks for itself. We nearly doubled our team in recruiting this past year. I keep bobsledding out of it, but am open if any athlete wants to go that route."
Head coach Todd McDaniel sought out Robinson when Betsy Laski decided to step away from coaching at Georgetown this past winter.
"Georgetown is lucky to have Dallas on its coaching staff," McDaniel said. "He knows what it takes to be a professional athlete and that's what he brings to the track and field program. He knows what it takes to win, and he teaches that to his athletes. In the next few seasons we will see major growth in the track program. I am honored to work alongside such an amazing person and athlete.
"Depending on the time the bobsled is on TV or streaming, I plan on getting the team together to watch him."
The Games run Feb. 7-23, with the bobsledding competitions scheduled for Feb. 16-23.