If you watched the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, there’s a big chance that you remember Steven Holcomb. The bobsled pilot did not look like your average high-level athlete but his performance was undeniable. Sadly, he will never compete again.
Holcomb, who was just 37, was found dead in his room at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, New York on Saturday. Of course, this has sent shockwaves of grief through the community and, considering his incredible story, has led many to feel like this was such a sad way for his story to end.
Diagnosed with keratoconus, a condition that nearly left him blind, Holcomb descended into depression. As his vision deteriorated, he feared that his career would be over. In his autobiography, But Now I See: My Journey from Blindness to Olympic Gold, he revealed a failed suicide attempt in his hotel room back in 2007.
Fortunately, he underwent a success surgery that took his vision from 20-500 to almost being perfect. This gave him the will to go on and, eventually, he became a three-time Olympian, three-time Olympic medalist, and five-time world champion. Amazing.
Fellow U.S. bobsled pilot, Nick Cunningham, who bunked next door to Holcomb in Lake Placid, weighed in on the tragedy and said: ”The only reason why the USA is in any conversation in the sport of bobsled is because of Steve Holcomb. He was the face of our team. He was the face of our sport. We all emulated him. Every driver in the world watched him, because he was that good at what he did. It’s a huge loss, huge loss, not just for our team but for the entire bobsled community.”
Pending the results of an autopsy, no cause of death has been announced but officials were quick to say that there were no signs of foul play.
Holcomb was expected to compete with the 2018 U.S. Olympic team at the Pyeongchang Games.
Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images