'Fire on Ice' connects the sport of bobsled to gospel principles in a message of faith, hope

By Caresa Alexander-Randall

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Feb. 27 2014 5:00 a.m. MST

Bobsled athlete Jeremy Holm, front, and brakeman David Meservy at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City

Provided by Jeremy Holm

Utah author and bobsled athlete Jeremy C. Holm hopes his new book, “Fire on Ice: Gospel Lessons Learned from a Lifetime of Sports," will bring about more knowledge of the sport, inspire others to love the Olympics as it relates to the gospel and also provide hope.

“There are a lot of principles found in the Olympic movement that correlate and can strengthen our dedication and commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Holm, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In "Fire on Ice," Holm ties eternal principles of the gospel to lessons he learned throughout his 14 years as an athlete. Both witty and heartwarming, Holm brings his experiences to life as he vividly portrays bobsled and his personal experiences that led him to pen: “I came to know God through bobsled."

Holm recalled that his introduction to bobsled changed his life. As a 16-year-old who hated roller coasters, he was surprisingly calm as he climbed into the cherry-red sled for the first time. He remembers thinking and feeling that there was something special about that moment. Later he would realize that bobsled was to be part of his life's mission.

Though on the outside it appeared that Holm had an ideal life, he silently struggled with anxiety and depression. Those very real burdens led him to contemplate suicide. But when he was on the mountain, he was able to leave those battles behind.

“Bobsled gave me hope for a better future when I was struggling in the present,” Holm said.

It was during those times of adversity that Holm found the strength to face his trials and rekindle his flame of faith.

“I want the book to be a light during the dark times for those who need it, like the Olympic torch,” Holm said.

In “Fire on Ice,” Holm quotes the Olympic creed that states, “the most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."

Hope is one lesson that resounds throughout the pages of “Fire on Ice.” Holm’s message to those who are facing trials is to never stop relying on the Lord.

“No matter what, no matter how dark, he is the light and is ultimately the one who will help us through the darkness,” Holm said.

His counsel to others is to never be afraid to ask for help. Whether it is a family member, a friend, a bishop or even a professional counselor, people are there to help. There is no need to go through it alone.

Holm also shares his experiences and wisdom through his work as a motivational speaker. He reaches out to various groups who are going through their own personal trials, including cancer, bullying, drug addiction, those who are considering or who have been affected by suicide, and people who feel overwhelmed and need encouragement. As he speaks to audiences, he talks about making championship choices.

“Sometimes we hold on to our mistakes or our hard times too much,” Holm said.

By what Holm calls a miracle, he was able to obtain a sled that he named the Phoenix. It is used in training and competition — Holm is training and working toward going on next year's America Cup circuit — but like the name suggests, the Phoenix is a symbol of second chances. The Phoenix Bobsled Project was created to spread hope through outreach, charity and educational events.

Holm, who is a bobsled pilot and has coached for the Paralympics, has had gold medals from races placed around his neck, and has worn employee name badges and a Mormon missionary badge, but he considers being a disciple of Jesus Christ to be his most important responsibility.

“All of the other ones are reflections of who I am,” Holm said of his various roles. “If I’m not following the Savior first, all the other ones kind of lose their value.”

Holm will take his second chance as he lets his light shine brightly to give hope and inspiration to those who are striving for their own gold medal.

For more information on the Phoenix project, go to teamphoenixbobsled.com.

Email: caresaalexander@q.com

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