From basketball to bobsled: Arlington-native earns Olympic bronze
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - In 2005, she guided the Lady Volunteers of Arlington Bowie to a state basketball title. Seventeen years later, that same competitive drive has turned bobsledder Sylvia Hoffman into an Olympic bronze medalist.
Much like the euphoria of cutting down the basketball nets after historic wins, success comes with the help of great teammates. In the 2022 Winter Olympics, Sylvia’s pilot in the two-woman bobsled was none other than four-time Olympic medalist Elana Meyers-Taylor, who was also selected to be the United States’ flag bearer in Sunday’s closing ceremony.
Throughout all four sliding runs at the Yanqing National Sliding Centre, the pair stayed in medal position throughout. Their bronze-medal cumulative time was 4:05.48, nearly 1.5 seconds behind the German gold medalists Lauren Nolte and Deborah Levi, and .75 behind their compatriots silver medalists Mariama Jamanka and Alexandra Burghardt, who earned silver.
After the PyeongChang Olympics of 2018, Hoffman was still in pursuit of her Olympic dreams- but, she had limited exposure to the sport. Two of the closest sliding centers are in Salt Lake City, Utah (1,200+ miles from home), and Lake Placid, N.Y. (1,700+ miles). As much as Sylvia wanted to compete, she also found herself needing the money to train. Years after her final basketball game at LSU-Shreveport (mascot ironically the “Pilots”), she moved to Colorado Springs, Colo., where she trained and competed for USA Weightlifting.
One of the biggest breaks came four years ago, as she was took part in the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee’s reality show, “The Next Olympic Hopeful”. The production not only entertained viewers, but was also a recruiting tool for Olympic organizations. Even though she didn’t become a “Hopeful” right away, she was contacted by U.S. Bobsled & Skeleton soon after.
Along with Meyers-Taylor, Sylvia has also shared the sled with Kallie Humphries in other events. Both pilots have won monobob medals earlier in these Games. Minutes after Super Bowl LVI aired on NBC, millions around the world saw Meyers-Taylor take silver, while Humphries earned the gold. In the two-woman race, Humphries and partner Kaysha Love finished in seventh place.
Coverage of the 2022 Winter Olympics ends Sunday night with the closing ceremony, which begins 6 p.m., and can be seen on KCBD-TV.
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