From Boise State to Olympian

Posted at 9:20 PM, May 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-31 23:23:13-04

Many athletes spend years focused on a sports career that inevitably ends.  When it does it can be hard to figure out what's next.  One former Bronco simply found a new sport and turned a joke into an Olympic career.

Bronco track star Nick Cunningham was the captain of his team and a 200-meter West region qualifier.
But that all came to an end.  When he graduated in 2008.  As the athlete mulled his next step his parents joked that he should become a bobsledder.

"They said a road that we were on that was kind curving on a mountain that it looked like a bobsled track and I was fast and I should try out,” said, Olympic Bobsledder Nick Cunningham. 

So Cunningham gave it a shot and ended up qualifying for the US team.

“It was kinda of a graduating gift to myself to go and try something new something outside the box.  Something I'm a big advocate of," said, Cunningham.

More than just an athlete Cunningham is also a Sergeant in the New York National Guard and the military supported him to pursue his new profession.

"It takes soldiers from different sports different disciplines and puts us on orders to compete for our country as well as serve for our country.  A lot of athletes wouldn't be able to still compete if they didn't have this program," said, Cunningham.

18 months later he was walking in the opening ceremonies of the 2010 winter games in Vancouver taking 12th in two-man - 13th in four-man.  For him, though he is just soaking in the moment.

"I say it now after nine years in the sport it still hasn't clicked, two Olympics going into my third Olympic games and seeing how much work has been put into it this has been a great experience for me," said, Cunningham.

Cunningham and his team hope to qualify for the 2018 winter Olympics in South Korea... And hoping to stand on the podium.

“Being named an Olympian isn't the goal.  It's winning a medal in the competition that's the goal," said, Cunningham.

Cunningham's bobsled can hit up to 85 miles an hour but for his next act, he wants to go even faster. When his bobsledding run comes to an end he hopes to become a stock car racer.