Father tells story of Canada's bobsledding Mormon, David Bissett

By Ron Bissett

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Feb. 20 2014 5:00 a.m. MST

As a child, David was ambitious and hardworking. At age 7, he got a paper route, hiring his younger brothers from time to time. Always wanting the best equipment, David's flier and paper routes made up for the difference we would contribute. If a good pair of sports shoes for him cost us $80, he would come up with another $80 to get the best pair possible. Half the registration fees for football or basketball or track and field came from his personal industry.

Early mornings and early nights were David's norm; He was up early for papers, then early-morning seminary, school, practice and bed. For years, that was his routine. That kind of discipline comes from Kim, David's mother, a champion speed skater in her youth. David's grandpa, Gordon Strate, played defense for the Detroit Red Wings in the mid- to late '50s. Great Aunt Doreen Ryan was a two-time Olympic speed skater in 1960 and 1964.

David's short powerful bursts of speed were noticeable, and Pierre Lueders, one of the most decorated names in bobsledding, approached David at a track meet to see if he would consider pushing for Pierre. Initially, David had no interest. His heart and mind were set on football, and he was using track and field to keep fit.

Eventually, David accepted a later invitation for a tryout in the Calgary Olympic Park Ice House. Hooked and flattered away from football, David went from the Ice House tryouts to his first Olympics in Turin, Italy, within weeks. Before competing in his first Olympics, David had only slid in a sled four times. (Seriously. I couldn't believe it, either.)

Now, as a world-class athlete on the international stage, fans treat him like a rock star. From countries, including those in Europe, that take bobsledding as seriously as Canadians take hockey, David gets mail requesting autographed photos.

Am I a proud father? Most certainly.

David Bissett is a son, a brother, a returned missionary, a husband, a father, an uncle, a neighbor, a salesman, a Cub Scout leader, a nephew, a grandson, a hard worker, a Canadian, a bobsledder and an all-round nice guy.

And David is a Mormon.

Ron Bissett is Olympian David Bissett’s father. He owns atonementofchrist.com and is a regular contributer to canada.lds.org.

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