Army, faith helped push Mormon bobsledder Chris Fogt to Olympic success

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 26 2014 5:00 a.m. MST

“Growing up with parents who were active, being around it all of the time, I just kind of got used to going (to church),” Fogt said. “I was kind of going through the motions in high school and college. Being on my own challenged me to find my own faith.”

Those experiences taught him that he loves the concepts of the gospel — especially the value of family.

“I’m learning more about myself, why I like church and why I go to church,” he said. “That’s been huge for me. Before, I went because my parents went or my friends went. Now, I go because I really like church. I love to meet new people, learn about Christ and the gospel and help myself be a better person.”

Fogt said his life has been about phases. Right now, his most important priority is his new — and growing — family. He married his college sweetheart, Rachel, in the Salt Lake Temple in August. They’re expecting their first child in May, and he reports for active duty with the Army on May 5.

“I’m very close to my mom and dad and my sister and brothers,” he said, noting he has eight siblings.

Being married has deepened his commitment to his faith.

“It makes me much more disciplined, especially now,” he said. “Even before I was married, I was not really out with the guys much. But I think one of the reasons I’ve had more success this year than any other is that I’m married. I got engaged in May, focused on training and have just been a lot more low-key.”

He said being the lone Mormon on his team has also helped him stay committed to gospel principles.

“When you’re the guy who doesn’t drink, doesn’t cuss, there is almost more pressure,” he said. “But I actually like it. It helps me follow what I know is true. It’s been great. I learned in the Army who I was and what I want in life. I think my testimony has grown a lot.”

He acknowledged that faith requires diligence and constant affirmation. He points to the “rough patch” he had before his mission when he was a student at Utah State.

“People say, ‘If you believe that, why would you fall away?’ ” he said. “To me, it’s a process of me learning about Christ, growing and learning why I want to follow him.”

Ready for what comes

After the medal-winning race, Fogt stood in front of the media, talking about what it took to earn bronze, when Tomasevic tapped him on the shoulder.

Fogt looked at the phone and smiled. “This is my wife,” he said.

He turned away from the mass of journalists and said, “Hey, what’s up, sweetie?”

He walked away, not just from the interviews but also from the sport — at least for the next few years.

“I’m taking a few years off to go back to the military,” he said. “If I’m still in shape, I’m going to try to come back in 2016.”

He has no idea where they’ll send him, but that doesn’t matter. An adventurous soul, he’s ready for whatever comes his way.

“Whatever the Army tells me to do, I’ll fall in line like a regular Joe and do my job,” he said.

And this time, when they’re passing time on tedious transports or waiting at dusty outposts, he’ll have a much better ending to his Olympic stories.

Twitter: adonsports Email: adonaldson@deseretnews.com

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