U.S. bobsled pilot Justin Olsen continues to recover from his emergency appendectomy here Monday night and remains on track to compete in both the two-man and four-man races, which will take place during the latter part of the Games.
According to Amanda Bird, the marketing and communications director for USA Bobsled and Skeleton, Olsen was walking around yesterday and was cleared to begin jogging.
He posted a nine-second video to his Twitter account on Thursday afternoon in which he did several push-ups and said his first workout post-surgery included light core work and stretching after a 15 minute dynamic warmup.
“He’s been sleeping well,” Bird said. “He’s been able to carry on as normal for the past 48 hours.”
Bird then read a statement attributed to Olsen: “I feel very lucky and fortunate we were able to diagnose and treat this early on. I know having a surgery 12 days before a competition isn’t ideal to most athletes but due to some great conversations with my girlfriend and mother I’m reminded nobody’s path is the same and I don’t feel sorry for myself in the slightest. I have no doubt I’ll be ready to compete. I’ll need to be smart over these next nine days but I’ll be ready. Just need to knock the dust off and we should be able to take care of business at the track.’”
Olsen, a three-time Olympian, had the surgery at a hospital in nearby Gangneung after being diagnosed with acute appendicitis. He has plenty of time to assess his condition before training runs for the two-man race begin on Feb. 15, with the competition taking place on the 18th and 19th. The four-man training begins on the 21st.
“With Justin having this unfortunate setback, it definitely brings a challenge especially for practicing and seeing how long his body will (take to) recover from the surgery,” his two-man partner Evan Weinstock said. “I know I’m very confident and his four-man team as well that he’s going to come back in as great a health as he possibly can. He’s a very strong guy and he’s very motivated. Talking to him the last couple days he’s 100% confident in himself, and we have a great medical staff that will be able to monitor him and if there are issues they’ll inform him he may take it a little easier today.
“I know my training has been going well and I’ll be able to perform to my top level and hopefully that will be enough to keep us where we expect to be and if Justin is fully healthy we’ll be exactly where we expect to be.”
Olsen transitioned from the pusher position on the four-man team, where he helped the U.S. win a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Games, to pilot after the 2014 Sochi Games. Olsen and Weinstock had one podium finish, a bronze in Lake Placid, on the World Cup circuit this past year.