The U.S. bobsledding team takes off, leaving the backdrop a blur. Girts Kehris


BETHEL — Bethel local, now Olympic athlete, bobsledder Frankie Del Duca has shown the world just how far perseverance and persistence will take you. Not only is he representing Team USA, but the US Army, Army WCAP, and more so, his family, friends, and Maine.

He is starting his Olympic career as a driver. As a former pusher, there are different challenges for each position.

“As a driver, I still push the sled before getting in. Once I’m in, though, the main part of my job begins. I have to use my steering “D rings” to steer the sled, using the pressure going through the sled as grip in the turns. The feeling I get when I’m driving is hard to describe,” explains Del Duca. “Everything is going fast, but time seems to slow down. Racing/going fast in general for me is euphoric. Moving to the front seat is more fulfilling to me, although I did enjoy being a push athlete and appreciate my time spent being one.”

A UMaine graduate who ran track and field, there have been some parallels between his former track days and his current bobsledding days.

“Both careers have had their ups, downs, injuries, learning experiences, etc. Most importantly, I developed bonds with some amazing individuals, and we worked together/pushed each other to reach a common goal,” recalls Del Duca.

Del Duca will be participating in the Beijing Olympics in February with the U.S. bobsled team. His journey has been inspiring, from Telstar High School track team to UMaine’s track team to a tryout camp in 2015 where he earned a spot on the U.S. national team. It was only two years later he switched from pusher to driver. That’s when things really took off. Del Duca raced on the North America Cup level before going on to the World Cup.

“I’m just a dude from Maine and found this opportunity I fell in love with.”

Comments are not available on this story.