Piloting a bobsleigh while blind
November 15, 2009 11:43 AM   Subscribe

You’d have to be blind to drive a bobsleigh. At least if you want to finish first, second, or third nine times in seven years. Since 2001, U.S. bobsleigh pilot Steven Holcomb has dealt with a degenerative eye condition that left him with 20/500 vision. He drove a sled hurtling down an ice track anyway, often winning. Now that his vision has been restored via an experimental operation, he fuzzes over his helmet visor so it’s just like the olden days. Bobsleigh, it seems, is all about feel.

During the seven years he was more or less blind, Holcomb’s sleds finished first four times, second four times, and third once (according to a PDF media guide, including results page).
posted by joeclark (3 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Neat story. I have the same eye condition as Holcomb, and those replications in the second link are uncannily like what I see. Fortunately, I can still wear rigid contacts most of the time which help a fair bit except with high contrast situations. You still wouldn't catch me dead in a fucking bobsled. (or, rather, that's the only way you'd catch me).
posted by Rumple at 11:58 AM on November 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

"America's sledi knight"

Heh. Sport writing is awesome. I wonder how much time was spent trying to decide whether or not to capitalize "sledi".
posted by dammitjim at 12:04 PM on November 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

What's with the "bobsleigh" jargon? Isn't it "bobsled?

I'm onto your game, joeclark. You watch it.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 2:46 PM on November 15, 2009

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