Park City bobsledder enjoying whirlwind tour

The following is an excerpt from an article posted at SLTrib.com:

The best part had to be attending the Indianapolis 500.

Or, wait.

Maybe it was pretending to be a trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Then again, meeting Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes at a Lakers game was pretty cool — never mind visiting President Obama at the White House — and so was playing golf with Charles Barkley and Ray Romano. Hard to look down your nose at a few days on the beach in St. Lucia, either, or reading the “Top 10 List” on the “Late Show with David Letterman.”

“It’s hard to say what really was the coolest,” bobsled driver Steve Holcomb said. “Everything has been cool.”

That’s just what happens when you win a gold medal in one of the premier events at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, breaking a 62-year American medal drought in the process. Suddenly, you’re a big deal — and Holcomb has taken full advantage of his new-found celebrity in the five months since winning the four-man bobsled at the Whistler Sliding Center.

By his agent’s accounting, the 30-year-old Park City native has traveled nearly 60,000 miles since his historic victory, from sea to shining sea and back again in pursuit of promotional and celebratory appearances, sponsorship deals and good old-fashioned fun times.

Along the way, he has thrown out first pitches and watched big-time ballgames, lectured to high-powered executives, met countless actors and politicians, and enjoyed a taste of life behind the celebrity curtain. Much of it, Holcomb has chronicled in hundreds of photos on his Facebook page.

“It has been insane,” Holcomb said. “Non-stop. Crazy. It’s been a lot of fun, though.”

Holcomb took a break to recall his adventures last weekend, during a one-day stop in Utah, where he appeared at a summer ski jumping competition at the Utah Olympic Park near Park City.

It was only the third time he had been back home since the Olympics — he has had only 11 days off since leaving Vancouver — and headed out again the next morning in order to return to a life of full-time training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“Unfortunately, I was born and raised in Park City, but I can’t afford to live here,” he said.

Even now, in the warm glow of his triumph, Holcomb said he’s only just barely back to even, financially. He used his assorted victory bonuses — including the $25,000 he received from the U.S. Olympic Committee — to pay off a $40,000 debt, but is faced with the prospect of another four years of scrabbling to finance the defense of his title at the 2014 Sochi Games in Russia.

“I’m just getting a little bit ahead,” he said. “I’m not going out and buying houses and cars. Basically, every penny I get, it’s going back into savings.”

Which is part of the reason he has been on the road so much.

Aside from enjoying the high life as a dignitary and ambassador at special events, Holcomb also has been trying to scare up new sponsors, “to make enough money to survive the next four years.” But so far, he has not found a single new long-term sponsor since the Olympics ended, amid the lagging global economy.

Click here to read the entire article.

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