Two teenage AAU Strength Sports athletes had the opportunity to attend the US Bobsled & Skeleton Federation G-Force driving school in Park City, Utah, March 3 – 8. The school is conducted twice a year at Utah Olympic Park, site of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games, to provide driving basics to athletes of all ages in the Olympic sliding sports of bobsled and skeleton. Skeleton is a single-athlete, face-first, winter sliding sport that is contested with athletes competing for the best time on the same track as bobsled.
Fourteen-year-old Noah Crofton, of Shreveport, LA, and fifteen-year-old Evan Pittman, of Des Moines, IA, participated in the multi-day driving skeleton school, along with more than a dozen other athletes. The teens were coached by senior Utah Olympic Park staff, including 2006 Women’s Bobsled Olympic Silver Medalist Valerie Fleming.
Crofton, and eighth-grader at St. Joseph Catholic School in Shreveport, is a three-time AAU world powerlifting champion and the current USA Weightlifting national age group weightlifting champion. Pittman, a freshman at Dowling Catholic High School in Des Moines, is a five-time AAU Junior Olympic Games and four-time AAU World Powerlifting Champion, with nearly 60 world powerlifting records to his credit, and is also the reigning Junior Olympic Games combine champion in the 14-15 age group.
By the final day of sliding, both athletes turned in quick times with runs averaging well above 60 mph.
“It was the most awesome thing you could imagine!” Crofton said. “I really hope this becomes something for me to compete in.”
Pittman was equally enthusiastic. “Skeleton is very exciting,” he said. “You have to know the track and control your body to achieve a competitive time.”
Both athletes expressed the desire to return to Park City in the fall for follow-on training on the ice track.