Blaine McConnell spent his youth and college years focused football and on dominating the gridiron. After he hung up the cleats, he switched his focus to actual iron with CrossFit. McConnell has now found another sport to focus on.
McConnell is taking his talents to Team USA Bobsled. Relatively new to the sport, McConnell has already made a splash by making the USA Bobsled National Team.
Find out more about Blaine's journey and learn about his future endeavors in bobsled in by reading the interview below!
KC: How did get into bobsled? It doesn’t seem to be a sport that you start as a kid.
BM: Very true, you don't really get into Bobsled as a kid. In fact, most people on the bobsled team are transplants from other sports or athletes who have run their course in the sport and found bobsled later in their career. For me, it was a bit of the latter. I had been competing in CrossFit at a high level for the past few years prior to bobsled, and I was getting burnt out of the volume that it takes to stay competitive in that sport, so I was looking for something else to compete in.
I had been watching this past year's Winter Olympics with a group of friends and bobsled came on. One of my friends in the room happened to know a few of the athletes and one of the coaches, and he said I would be a perfect fit to be a bobsled athlete. He reached out to the coach, and a month or so later I got an email asking me to come to try out.
KC: What aspects of your background in football and CrossFit help you in bobsled?
BM: The physical aspects that made me a good football player transferred over very well to bobsled. Being a bit bigger and having good speed are two very important factors to being a bobsled athlete. For years in football, I trained to be as fast and explosive as possible while also keeping on good weight, and in bobsled that is physically the goal as well. CrossFit taught me how to train smart. With the amount of volume I was doing in CrossFit I needed to train in a way that I would be sustainable and not get injured. I also learned how to do the Olympic lifts properly while training CrossFit and that transfer over for pushing a bobsled is very important as well. The power clean is a staple in our bobsled training, and knowing how to do it properly will help you push better as well as stay injury free.
KC: You were just recently named one of twenty-three athletes were named to the USA Bobsled National Team after the conclusion of selection races in Lake Placid. How was this experience for you?
BM: Coming in as a rookie I had no expectations of anything. My goal was to obviously make the team, but I just wanted to absorb as much as I could and learn as much from the Vets on how the whole process works. I had put in a bunch of work leading up to that point and I was confident in my abilities, so I knew if I put forth my best effort I could have a really good chance of making the team. But to be honest, I was very nervous throughout the process. Being at the Olympic Training Center and competing with/against a bunch of stud athletes, some of whom are Olympic athletes already, was a bit nerve-racking at points. I think I really settled in and started getting more comfortable after my first few trips down the ice. The Vets on the team were very welcoming and also made the process a bit easier for myself and the rest of the rookies.
KC: How does it feel to get to represent your country in the upcoming events?
BM: Being announced to the National Team was a great honor, but now that I have done an international race it's an even bigger honor. There is a great feeling of pride when you're walking out to the starting block with your boys and you are all wearing Red, White, and Blue with the big USA on the back of your speed suit. Something that I have never experienced in sports before. Got me pretty hyped right now just thinking about it again.
KC: With 2018 coming to an end and 2019 on the horizon, have you set any goals for the upcoming year?
BM: Our season continues into the early part of 2019 and ends with World Championships in Whistler, CA in March. Personally, I want to stay healthy and competitive throughout my rookie season and learn as much as I can. I also want to be on the podium at World Championships so I'm busting my ass to get there as well. I will probably sit down and map out some offseason goals as well as personal life goals once the 2019 season has concluded.
KC: What does Kill the Quit mean to you?
BM: Kill that little voice in your head that casts any doubt in your mind. Winning, losing, succeeding, and failing is a part of the process but quitting should never be an option.