BETHEL — Until 2015, bobsledding was something Frankie Del Duca only enjoyed watching on television.

The 27-year-old, who lives at the Olympic Training Center at Lake Placid, New York, most the year, was a standout athlete at Telstar Regional High School in Bethel where he still holds numerous records in track and field. He has also skied, played soccer, hockey, baseball and football, and ridden motocross, BMX and mountain bikes.

He graduated from Telstar in 2009 and the University of Maine in 2014.

But bobsledding was always on his radar.

“Bobsledding was always on my watch list for the Winter Olympics,” he said. “I never knew how the athletes got into it, but loved watching them compete.”

When he learned that the U.S. bobsled team held combines every year, he decided to try out.

“I love sprinting, lifting weights, going fast and working on things, all of which are big components to bobsledding,” he said.

The carbon fiber sleds race on uniquely designed tracks and reach speeds of more than 95 mph on the fastest tracks. It’s common to be at least 10 feet up on a wall doing 80 miles per hour, he said.

Del Duca spent his first three years in the sport as a push athlete. This is his first year as a pilot.

The Fort Lauderdale native earned medals as a beginner pilot. He raced in a sled from the 1990s, while many other competitors raced with newer equipment.

He competed in the 2016 and 2017 World Championships and the 2016-17 and 2017-18 World Cup Recruits.

He raced a two-man sled at the North American Cup Tour and will compete in two- and four-man sled events at this year’s regional and national championships.

After narrowly missing out on the 2018 USA Bobsled National at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang last year, he said his goal is to make it in 2022.

“Absolutely, that this is the plan,” he said. “As well as World Championships in Lake Placid in 2021. After that, the plan is to compete in World Championships every year, and the 2026 Olympics as well.”

A few weeks ago, he finished the North American Cup Tour, coming in fourth in points out of 37 two-man sleds.

The Olympic hopeful said he has many people to thank for his success in the sport.

He said his family, friends, teammates, community and others have contributed to this journey, whether by fundraising, cheering at races, or sending well wishes.

“It all means so much to me,” he said.

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Del Duca getting ready for the start of a race.

Frankie Del Duca  starts a race.

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