Herschel Walker: The NFL’s First Winter Olympian

  • By Daniel Greco
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This year's Winter Olympics started off with a bang, thanks to Red Gerard winning the U.S.'s first gold medal in men's slopestyle snowboarding. Since 1924, the United States has featured some amazing Winter Olympic athletes including Apolo Anton Ohno, Michelle Kwan, Shaun White, and former NFL running back Herschel Walker.

Walker was a tremendous athlete, winning the Heisman trophy in 1982 at the University of Georgia and playing 12 seasons in the NFL. However, in 1992, Walker took his gridiron skills to the bobsled track.

Walker had a desire to compete in the Winter Olympics in Albertville, France, and U.S. bobsled coach Jim Hickey wanted the 6-foot-1 running back to be a part of his team. However, Walker had one small problem, he was still playing football.

In the 1991 NFL regular season, Walker rushed for 825 yards and 10 touchdowns, but the Vikings didn't make the playoffs. Luckily, Walker was granted an extension to try out for the team after the regular season ended, and a few weeks before competition, he was named to the two-man bobsled team.

With his partner, Brian Shimer, the duo finished seventh in the final standings, only seven-tenths of a second away from claiming gold.

Even though Walker didn't get to stand on a podium, he was still the first NFLer to ever compete in the Winter Olympics.



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