Olympic Gold Medal Winner Speaks at K-12 Convo
Students and Staff Hear His Story
May 02, 2010
Photos in set one courtesy of Kurt Kiesel.
District 82 students had a unique opportunity on Friday, April 30. A K-12 Convocation featured Olympic Gold Medalist, Curtis Tomasevicz. Curtis won the Gold Medal at the 2010 Olympics in Canada earlier this year as the brakeman on the USA's Four-Man Bobsled team.
Curtis told the students how he was really just an ordinary kid who lived and went to school in Shelby, Nebraska...where it is very flat...not bobsled territory at all. His high school class had only 24 students in it. He played football in high school, and played on the University of Nebraska football team. However, his scholarship was for academics. He has earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering.
He shared his interesting story of how "the kid from a small town Nebraska" got on the Olympic Bobsled team, through some part-time work for the UNL athletic department.
He is especially thankful to the people in Shelby, population just over 600, who raised $25,000 to allow him to keep training and remain on the team for this year's Olympics. He said most people in Shelby didn't even know what an bobsled was, but they believed in him and he worked hard to achieve his goal. He was on the USA #2 team and was moved up to the #1 team for this year's Olympics.
Of course, he had his Olympic Gold Medal to show the students...and his special shoes (with 500 needle points to grip the ice; or perhaps the team member in front of you as you jump into the sled...he is glad to be the brakeman...last person in the sled!), his helmet, his gloves, and his uniform...which brought laughter from the audience as he held it up....as it looked very small, for a very tall, athletic 29-year-old. He joked with the audience then, saying 'You may not respect me for winning the Gold Medal, but you'd better respect me for wearing this!'
He also showed a video of the winning run, and the presentation of the Gold Medals to the team members when the Star Spangled Banner was played.
Afterward, Curtis stayed for photographs with each grade.
The convocation was arranged because WC vocal music director, Mrs. Judy Vrbka, was Curtis's elementary music teacher for many years. Several of Mrs. Vrbka's elementary students were on stage to introduce Mr. Tomasevicz and to thank him for coming.
WC Principals, Ron Oltman, and Allen Brozovsky took care of the details of the contract for the convocation.