Former CSU Track Star Trying Out for Olympics…But Not for Track
It's no surprise that Leah Fair wants to compete in the Olympics, considering that she was one of the fastest sprinters at Colorado State University.
However, she doesn't want to participate in track, but...skeleton. Yup, you read that right.
Skeleton is a Winter Olympics event where an athlete slides headfirst down an icy track on a bobsled. It differs from the sport of bobsled, however, in that it involves single riders.
According to The Coloradoan
, the track is around a mile long, and competitors must push their 81-pound bobsled for 32 yards before even reaching the track.
Once in the track, an athlete can reach speeds up to 90 mph.
Fair, who originally wanted to enter the Olympics for weightlifting (she can dead lift 418 pounds), came across skeleton while applying for the U.S. Olympic development team.
Thankfully, the 24-year-old was one of the 50 applicants to be selected and received an invitation to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
And, despite just learning to sled in October of 2019, Fair is already catching the eyes of coaches and celebrities.
"She [Fair] can fly," said eight-time speed skating Olympic medalist Apollo Ohno.
While her ambitions are high, Fair's expectations are realistic.
"There's probably about a 5-year-learning curve, so they're not expecting me to place or be a star athlete yet," said Fair. "They're trying to teach me the basics...to build me up for the 2022 and 2026 Olympics."
Aside from mastering the sport, the South Carolina native must pass through multiple competitions before she is even considered for a spot on the U.S. skeleton team.
Fair is no stranger to the intensity of Olympic tryouts — she missed qualifying for the 2016 U.S. Olympic track and field team by two-tenths of a second.
Yet, she's up for the challenge, calling the experience "a blast" so far.