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Olsen, Hines join US bobsled/skeleton staff as start coaches

LAKE PLACID — Olympic bobsled medalists Justin Olsen and Garrett Hines are joining the United States Bobsled/Skeleton staff as start coaches. Olsen and Hines have a combined 22 years of experience as athletes, and have earned a total of six World Championship and Olympic medals over their careers as bobsledders. They’ve also both made history on a global scale during their careers.

Olsen won the gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Games with driver Steve Holcomb in four-man bobsled. It was the first time an American men’s four-man team could claim that title since 1948 and only the third time ever. Hines helped pave the way for Olsen’s success when his four-man team ended 46 years of Olympic frustration for the U.S. men’s bobsled program with a silver medal finish at the 2002 Salt LakeCity Games. He and two other athletes on his four-man team, Randy Jones and Bill Schuffenhauer, were the first African-American male athletes to win a medal for the U.S. at a Winter Olympics.

“We are really excited for Justin and Garrett to make the transition to coaches,” said USABS CEO Aron McGuire. “They have a wealth of sliding knowledge and experience to share from their time in the sport as athletes, and they will be assets to this team as we strive for excellence in 2022 and beyond.”

Olsen and Hines will split time between the development and national teams so that bobsled and skeleton athletes at all levels will receive feedback on their pushes.

Olsen announced his retirement as an athlete earlier Wednesday. He said he began considering coaching last season, when he was unable to compete due to an injury.

“I spent some time coaching last season since I couldn’t be in a sled, and I found out that I had a blast doing it,” Olsen said. “I realized that my ability to have an impact on people was much greater as a coach than as an athlete. It’s the right time to make this transition. It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m not afraid of challenges. I’m really excited to be the USABS start coach, and I’m looking forward to getting started.”

Hines retired in 2003 and has spent the last 17 years working with various levels of athletes as a track and field coach.  He coached for the Department of Defense Education Activity High School at Camp Humphreys in South Korea, and Georgia State University Track & Field Division I programs. 

“I want to be the best coach possible, so I’ve made it a point to train athletes of all age groups, sport backgrounds, and skill levels,” Hines said. 

While Hines hasn’t been involved with bobsled for several years, he’s remained in touch with former teammates and the coaches with hopes of returning to the sport that he was so passionate about.

“I want to work with the future of the sport,” Hines said. “I want to give back to a sport that many past athletes, including myself, love and achieved our dreams in.”

Olsen and Hines will work in Lake Placid, where the Olympic Regional Development Authority is building a state of the art iced push track facility — the first in the U.S.