Former Princeton football player gets chance to compete for US bobsled team
A Monmouth County native that made his mark on the football field is trading his cleats for ice spikes as he pursues his dreams of competing in the Olympics.
After stellar football and track careers at Rumson-Fair Haven High School and Princeton University, Charlie Volker can now add USA bobsledder to his sports resume.
At his 2019 graduation of Princeton, Volker ranked seventh all-time in rushing yards at the school. The running back was hoping to take his football career to the next level.
“We had our pro day and then COVID hit and I found out there weren’t going to be any mini-camps, which was a tough blow after training for three months,” Volker says.
But Volker says that he kept training and met with a strength coach that had experience with the bobsled. He told Volker that his body type and skill set were perfect for the sport.
“A lot of it is muscle work that I’ve developed as a running back and at Princeton especially I became a short yardage back, so I was the guy that was supposed to power through,” he says.
Volker participated in a virtual combine for the national team and was invited to Lake Placid to train with other rookies. He says that he never experienced anything like the G-force he felt the first time on the track.
“Kind of felt like I was in a washing machine and then coming up at the end I got out and almost fell back on my butt and the pilot was looking back at me cracking up because everyone’s face after the first time is apparently priceless,” Volker says.
Volker impressed the coaches and made it onto a sled. He will not compete in the team trials at the upcoming North American Cup. He says that his dream is to make the U.S. team for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
“I don’t consider myself to be there representing the USA. I’m representing people form back home who’ve put in so much time and effort and I just want to make them proud,” Volker says.
The North American Cup begins later this month in Park City, Utah and continues next month in Lake Placid.