I'm elated for Chris. He's been really great for a long time, and finally to show some people some of what he's made of. —Steve Langton, on Utahn Chris Fogt
CALGARY, Canada — Utahn Chris Fogt took a step closer to earning a spot on his second Olympic team.
The Alpine native set an Ice House record en route to earning the U.S. National Push Championship. It is the first of his career and came after an intensely competitive battle with powerhouse Steve Langton. The Massachusetts native has won the last four push titles, but on Thursday Fogt was faster. Fogt's combined time (pushing from the brakes and side) was 9.971, while Langton's was 10.013.
"There is no one else I'd rather lose to if it had to happen," said Langton, who is Fogt's training partner. "I'm elated for Chris. He's been really great for a long time, and finally to show some people some of what he's made of."
Fogt was a member of the 2010 U.S. team aboard USA No. 2. The crew flipped on its second trip down the treacherous Whistler track and wasn't able to finish the competition because the driver was injured in the crash. Fogt is a captain in the military intelligence branch and a member of the Army's World Class Athlete Program. He was deployed to Iraq for a year after the Vancouver Games, and has been impressive in his return.
"I was back at square one after my deployment and I had to make my way back on the team," Fogt said. "I'm fortunate that the WCAP has allowed me to train full time over the last two years, and now I'm seeing those results. It's awesome."
While each of the men wanted to win, the training partners were cheering one another along during the competition.
"Steve and I were teammates at the 2010 Olympics, and he's my best friend in the sport," Fogt said. "He's won this competition four times, and it gives me something to work towards. He gave me a high five at the start, said good luck, and is a true sportsman."
While the individual title is nice, the Alpine man said he enjoys the support of the team atmosphere.
"You want everyone to do his best," he said. "That's why I love the U.S. team. You would think it would be cutthroat, but it's not at all. Everyone is cheering each other on, and it's such a great atmosphere. We are such a great unit this year, and we hope all of our sleds are on the podium come Sochi."
Men's bobsled head coach Brian Shimer said the record-setting pushes from the men indicate a reason to be optimistic about the upcoming Olympics.
"The U.S. team now owns the Canadian Ice House track record from the right side, left side and brakes," Shimer said. "This is going to be a special year. It feels pretty good to be the coach of such a talented team."