Gold-medal winning bobsled driver Holcomb talks about his battles with depression, blindness

Published: Saturday, Dec. 1 2012 8:02 p.m. MST

"That was the turning point for me mentally," said Holcomb. "That burden, all of a sudden, was gone. I still took medication, and then I got to the point where I could stop."

A year later, Holcomb and his "Night Train" crew became the first Americans in 50 years to win a four-man bobsled World Championship. And a year after that, he and the same crew won the first U.S. gold medal in the sport since 1948.

Holcomb became the most successful American bobsledder in U.S. history without telling anyone he'd tried to end his own life. He assumed that was a secret he'd never tell until the man helping him write his life story, Steve Eubanks pressed him.

"He'd gotten to know me, and he knew there was more to the story," Holcomb said. The rough draft was done when Holcomb sent Eubanks his account of what happened that night in 2007.

"I sat in front of my computer for about 15 minutes before I hit send," he said.

It was thoughts of Peterson's tragic death that moved him to share his secret.

"It came as a huge, huge shock to me," said Holcomb. "We all thought he was doing well, and coming back. I've been in his position and I also know, you do think you're out of it (the sadness), but it doesn't take much for it to come flooding back. The gate between depressed and not depressed … is a picket fence. It doesn't take much to knock it down."

He wants people to know there are millions living with depression, and that they can be successful if they seek treatment.

"It's more common than people think," he said. "It's a little bit of a story that people should probably hear. People who are suffering through depression, it helps to know you're not alone. There is help out there. There are ways to get better."

Email: adonaldson@desnews.com

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