Overland Park native an Olympic bobsledding hopeful
9:58 PM, Mar 29, 2013
10:48 PM, Mar 29, 2013
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - It didn't surprise her old coach when Micaela Damas asked to use the Blue Valley North gym when she was back in town for Easter.
When Damas' coaches saw her compete, they knew she had a future, even if that future itself has shaped up to be a little bit of a surprise.
Ann Fritz coached the three-sport athlete in basketball.
"With the type of athlete, the type of kid she is, you know she was always a leader, never a follower, and a go getter," she explained.
Damas spent four years playing college soccer, then went pro in Australia for a year, and came back to the States to play here. But the league folded before she could take the field and she found herself stranded in Park City, Utah.
That's when her competitive nature really kicked in.
"I did look for a job for about a month and then decided all right, maybe it's not quite time to be an adult, so my brother actually suggested for me to try out for the bobsled team, and it just kind of took off," she said.
She has taken off as well, doing so well at the bobsled combine, that she was invited to Olympic tryouts.
"Obviously, everyone's goal is the Olympics 2014 in Sochi, Russia," Damas admitted.
"I don't like to fail. Failure's really not an option at this point. So I'm doing everything I possibly can to make sure that I'm on the World Cup team in August, and then hopefully give me a nice shot for the Olympics in 2014," she added.
In the meantime, she did find a job as a server in Park City. The hours are flexible, which is good, but it makes for long days.
"I usually work out, go to work, do another workout, and then I volunteer coach as well," she said.
As brakeman on the two-man bobsled, a good start is her responsibility, shoving the nearly 500-pound sled forward and jumping aboard without disturbing the driver's equilibrium. That's why track and field athletes are recruited for this sport. During the ride, the brakeman can pull up to four G's of force. All of this makes for a lot of recovery time.
Which is why having a sponsor would help, with expenses and even more so, with time.
She's heard all the jokes and this Kansas girl is as surprised as anyone to find herself in a mountain winter sport.
"I'm a bobsledder. I never thought that would be a sentence I would utter," Damas said.