This summer Don and Della McGuire, of Sims Drive in Columbus, were thinking about the 2018 Winter Olympics.
It might seem strange that they would have been thinking of the Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, five years early, but they had a
Grandsons Andrew McGuire and Connor McGuire, both from Iowa, spent three days in August at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y. Their goal was to be invited to be on the U.S. developmental team for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Their quest started with a simple remark: “How cool would it be to be in the Olympics?” Together they set out to find a way to be teammates. Being six years apart, their opportunities to play sports together had been limited to sandlot and pickup games.
Andrew McGuire had played a variety of sports, such as flag football, baseball and rugby. Connor McGuire had played football and basketball and run track. Connor suggested bobsled, and the two agreed on it.
Because the average weight of bobsledders is 200 or more pounds, both needed to bulk up because they were about 50 pounds lighter than the average.
They held their own trials in August 2012, consisting of sprint times for distances of 15, 30, 45 and 60 meters; the broad jump; shot put; and weightlifting. They set up a second trial the next time they were together in 2012, for Thanksgiving at their grandparents’ house.
“You think of two youngsters being like kids again. They had it set outdoors next to us and ran sprints, and you thought they were being silly, but they meant it,” Della McGuire said.
They worked out, each in their own town, over the next year and met up in 2013 at Lake Placid for the trials Aug. 1 to 3.
The first night sign-in and meetings handed them an obstacle. Participants must meet official minimum weight to run a sled. The weight of the sled plus two men plus the allowable weight added to the sled must add up to the official minimum weight. Even with Andrew McGuire adding 25 pounds of muscle, combined they did not weigh enough. Without missing a beat or a chance to compete in
the Olympics, they switched to skeleton. That’s the event where the athlete rides a small sled down a frozen track while lying face down.
They competed over the next two days. Their scores were respectable. However, because Andrew McGuire was 27 and would be 32 at the 2018 Winter Olympics, the coaches didn’t want to gamble on him. Connor McGuire, who turned 21 just three days earlier, was the perfect age, but he turned down the offer to return in November for more training. Connor McGuire told the coaches that he wanted to put all of his time into securing a commission and career with the U.S. Air Force.
While Don and Della McGuire don’t have
two grandsons headed to the 2018 Winter games, they have a great story to tell about their Olympic adventure.
“I was proud of them for trying,” Della McGuire said. “It will be a memory they will keep.”