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Eagle Scouts Holcomb and Fogt bringing home the bronze in four-man bobsled

bobsleddersAs teenagers, they received red, white and blue Eagle Scout medals.

This morning, clad in the red, white and blue of Team USA, Steven Holcomb and Chris Fogt got bronze Olympic ones.

The Eagle Scouts were two of the four members of the USA-1 “Night Train 2″ team, which also included Curt Tomasevicz and Steve Langton.

What always fascinates me about Olympic sports is the margins separating medal winners and also-rans. The USA-1 team finished just 0.39 seconds behind the gold-medal-winning Russia-1 sled. That’s a length of time gone faster than you can say “physically strong.”

Even closer was the gap between third and fourth place. USA-1 (3:40.99) edged out Russia-2 (3:41.02) by three one-hundredths of a second. Wow. And remember that those times are the sum of four runs down the track.

Holcomb, who won bronze in the two-man bobsled last week, is the first American to win two bobsled medals at a Winter Olympics since 1952. And with three total bobsled medals (he won four-man gold in Vancouver), Holcomb now is tied with Patrick Martin for the most in Team USA history.

Still, as you’d expect with any competitor, Holcomb wished for more. Continue reading

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Half of Team USA’s ‘Night Train’ bobsled team are Eagle Scouts

holcomb-2010Feb. 23: Full results below

Team USA’s bobsledders must be born with a superhuman drive to reach their goals.

How else can you explain the fact that 50 percent of USA-1, the four-man Olympic bobsled team with strong medal hopes in Sochi, are Eagle Scouts?

Eagle Scout Steven Holcomb (pictured with a couple of Cub Scouts) will pilot USA-1, nicknamed “Night Train” for its all-black paint job. He helped snap a 62-year American gold medal drought in four-man bobsled with his win in Vancouver.

Don’t miss Eagle Scout Mark Ray’s profile of Holcomb from the Summer 2010 Eagle Scout magazine (PDF).

chris-fogtHolcomb’s push team includes fellow Eagle Scout Chris Fogt (right), an Iraq War veteran who competed in the Vancouver Games as a member of USA-2.

Curt Tomasevicz and Steve Langton round out the four-man team, which has its first heat on Saturday, Feb. 22. Find full schedules and viewing info below.

Follow the jump to learn how and when you can cheer on these Eagle Scout bobsledders.

Continue reading

Tucker West Home Luge

U.S. Olympian is great-great-grandson of BSA’s first Chief Scout Executive

Tucker WestThe speedy sport of luge has been in Tucker West’s blood since age 6 when his dad built a track in the backyard for Tucker and his fellow Cub Scouts to race on.

Scouting’s been in Tucker’s blood even longer.

Tucker West is the great-great-grandson of James E. West, the Boy Scouts of America’s first Chief Scout Executive.

That link to one of the BSA’s pioneers gives us a great reason to cheer on the 18-year-old as he becomes the youngest-ever member of the U.S. Olympic luge team and prepares to compete in Sochi, Russia.

Tucker will race four times: 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. tomorrow (Feb. 8) and 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Sunday (Feb. 9) — all times Eastern. You should be able to watch most races live online, provided you authenticate your cable or satellite subscription on the NBC Olympics website.

I find it an appropriate coincidence that two of Tucker’s races will be on the BSA’s 104th birthday; Scouting was founded on Feb. 8, 1910.

Doug Stone, a friend of the West family who sent me this story idea, also shared this picture of Tucker winning the silver medal at Ridgefield, Conn., Pack 124′s sledding event in Tucker’s backyard in 2004: Continue reading

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Eagle Scout Olympian reveals how he balanced swimming and Scouting

Eric Shanteau, a cancer survivor, supports the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

By the time Eric Shanteau first put on a Cub Scout uniform, he had already been swimming for five years.

As he got older, Shanteau, who learned to swim at age 3, found a way to keep both of these parallel lives afloat.

He balanced a successful Scouting career that culminated in the Eagle Scout award (in 1999) with an elite swimming career that has led him to spots on the 2008 and 2012 U.S. Olympic Swimming team.

On top of all that, Shanteau is a cancer survivor. A week before the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Thankfully, he’s now in remission and works with the Lance Armstrong Foundation to promote cancer awareness.

Before Shanteau left for London to compete in the 100-meter breaststroke and 4×100-meter medley relay (details below), I chatted with him by phone.

In our conversation, Shanteau reveals how he balanced Scouting and swimming; shares tips for Scouts getting over a fear of swimming, especially in lakes; explains how to encourage Scouts to get across the finish line and earn Eagle; and more.  Continue reading

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How Scouting helped this Team USA water polo goalie in his quest for gold

Merrill Moses equates the silver medal he won at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing to earning the rank of Life in Boy Scouts.

Both are great achievements, but each is still a step away from the top.

Moses earned Eagle in the mid-90′s, and now, the 34-year-old Team USA water polo goalkeeper has his gaze squarely fixed on another top prize: Olympic gold.

At the London Olympics, Moses and Team USA are 2-0 in opening-round games after Tuesday’s 10-8 win against Romania. The Americans have three more first-round games (viewing info below) before beginning the single-elimination matches that will determine medalists.

But before Moses left for London, I talked with him by phone about his time in Scouting and how it helped prepare him for a successful water polo career.

Here are some highlights from our conversation: Continue reading

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Twins Grant and Ross James are Eagle Scouts and Olympians

UPDATE (8:10 a.m., Aug. 1): Grant and Ross raced for Team USA this morning. See the results (spoiler!) or watch the video (start at 2:57:18).


You’d expect twins to have a lot in common. But you’d be hard-pressed to find a pair who share a resume as impressive as Grant and Ross James.

The twins are Eagle Scouts, national champions in high-power rifle shooting, and world-class rowers.

On Wednesday (Aug. 1) the pair will look to add one more line to their list of successes: Olympic gold medalists. They’re two members of Team USA’s eight-man rowing crew, which will be gold-medal favorites in Wednesday’s final. (See below for viewing info).

But before they left for London, Grant and Ross — who earned Eagle in 2003 in Dekalb, Ill. — talked with me by phone. Here are some highlights from our conversation:  Continue reading