Before we get into things I would like to give everyone the chance to have a little background about who I am and how I ended up getting this opportunity!
My name is Gage Smith and I am raising money toward my goal of being on the United States Bobsled Team. Before I go too deep into bobsled I would like to take a moment and talk about my past. I was lucky enough to grow up in the beautiful town of Whitefish Montana around loving family, friends and great role models. Being from the state of Montana has always been something I take great pride in. I attended Whitefish High School where I would go on to be an All-State football player and All-State track athlete. After high school I knew I wanted to continue my athletic career at the next level. After being recruited by numerous small schools I decided to go to the University of Montana as a walk-on which I believe was the greatest decision I have ever made in my life.
UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA
Going to the University of Montana as a walk-on I knew I had a great challenge ahead of me. After working hard in high school to be the best athlete I could I would be starting at the bottom of the totem pole once again. I worked hard on and off the field to earn the right to put on that Montana Grizzlies uniform every Saturday, to me that is one of the greatest feelings a kid growing up in the state of Montana could ever have. My first ever time as a young Grizzly running down on opening kick-off was something I will never forget. During my time at the University of Montana I developed relationships that will last a lifetime and although I loved the football aspect of it, to me, those relationships I developed and the giant family that is “Griz Nation” will forever be what I hold in my heart. The people are truly what makes the University of Montana a special place!
HOW I GOT INTO BOBSLEDDING
After football came to an end for me at the University of Montana I felt like I had a giant void in my life not having that competitiveness that sports had given me all these years. It is funny because a couple years ago I had the same question come to mind when watching bobsledding on TV at the Olympics “how does someone even get into bobsledding?” Well as it turns out, here in the US, they recruit ex-collegiate athletes to push sleds at the highest level of competition. After getting in touch with one of the US Bobsled Team coaches he extended me an invite to rookie camp which took place in August at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, NY. After performing well at the rookie push champs, which is the annual rookie competition held at the end of our week at rookie camp, I received an invitation to the US National Push Championships held at the same location just a few weeks later. Unfortunately, I was not able to come back for the National Push Championships due to the fact that I had spent all of my money getting myself across the country and spending two weeks away from work and from home. Luckily that wasn’t the end of the line for me. Although I missed another week of experience at the National Push Champs I received a call from one of the coaches extending me the opportunity to come back to live at the Olympic Training Center continuing my training for 6 weeks getting the opportunity to actually train on the ice and get us rookies ready to race on the North American Cup Circuit. The North American Cup Circuit is considered to be comparable to what the JV team is to the varsity team (World Cup Circuit). I am very excited for my first time on ice going down a real bobsled track.
WHY IS THIS FUNDING NECESSARY?
Here comes the tricky part about the sport of bobsled. During our rookie season we receive no funding from team USA or the bobsled organization. During the season there are numerous costs that I will be left to cover on my own. Costs that will need to be personally covered on my own include flights, lodging, food, ice spikes (which typically cost over $300), burn vests, everyday living costs etc. Even the athletes at the highest level of bobsledding in the US still rely on donations and sponsors to make their careers possible. During this 4-5 month period I will be unable to work as well and will therefore have no source of income due to the fact we will be traveling/out of town all winter. I am relying on the support of my family, friends and others to make the dream a possibility! Thank you everyone for taking the time to read this, please share this with others and have an amazing day!