Tryouts are a staple of sportswriting. The effort of covering a casting call for any sport always is rewarded, often because of the delusional, if admirable, athletes who think they have a chance to make it.
That's why I visited the Skyline High School track on a 100-degree day in July 1998, and sure enough, there they were: the gray-haired marathon runner in long, black socks and the overweight guy who ran 100 meters in about 20 seconds. And that's also where I discovered Steve Holcomb. More accurately, U.S. Bobsled & Skeleton Federation officials found the frustrated, 18-year-old ski racer from Park City who was looking for another Olympic avenue.
He impressed them enough to earn free housing in a bobsled camp later that summer in Lake Placid, N.Y. And that's where he died, not quite 20 years later, after becoming the first Utah native to win three Winter Olympic gold medals.