By Dave Ongie
As the Olympic Fanfare and Theme blared from the loudspeakers at Kermit Tipton Stadium last Friday morning, hundreds of local youngsters looked on as Team USA bobsledder Chris Kinney ran a lap around the track with the Olympic flag flapping in his wake.
The kids were on hand for Olympic Day, which is held each year to commemorate the birth of the modern Olympics while promoting fitness, fair play and sportsmanship. After Kinney recited the Olympic Oath, they flooded the field and track to try out several sports, including shot put, soccer, rugby and hurdles.
For Kinney, who represented the United States in the four-man bobsled event in Pyeongchang earlier this year, Friday marked a golden opportunity to inspire youngsters to get active.
“It definitely gets me super-fired up,” he said. “I remember being that age, loving sports and loving to be active. I actually didn’t really have very many older athletes to look up to or to talk to, but I definitely love giving back, especially working with young kids and developing the next generation.”
Kinney said he owes much of his success to the Olympic Training Site at ETSU. Kinney was a track and field star at Georgetown before attending a Team USA combine in 2014 and earning a shot at making the bobsled team. He credits ETSU’s Brad DeWesse for helping him make the most of the opportunity.
“I came my first year and I did alright just trying out for the team at the combine, but after coming here, I made my way to the top of the team and became one of our fastest pushers just working under Brad here,” Kinney said. “It’s a great program.”