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Erin Rodin eagerly waits for her chance to ride an Olympic bobsled

Coach Erin Rodin.

Coach Erin Rodin. Credit: Bellmore-Merrick Central School

While the winter of 2019 may be slipping and sliding toward an eventual end, Erin Rodin wakes up everyday with the winter of 2022 on her mind. That’s when she hopes to be competing for the United States bobsled team in the next winter Olympics in Beijing.

While her shot at the Olympics may be considered an outside one at best, Rodin still has a better chance than most at making the team. This is pretty remarkable, in and of itself, given her back story and the fact that she’s never actually been in a bobsled before.

Last summer, Rodin, 25, of Islip Terrace, attended a U.S. Bobsled combine in Lake Placid and placed seventh. The combine tests speed, agility, and strength while putting athletes through sprinting, jumping, and throwing drills.

While her score was not good enough to earn an invite to rookie camp, Rodin said that coaches told her that they saw potential and instructed her to keep training on her own in hopes of doing better at a combine this July. Rodin estimates that there are between 12-15 athletes in her position.

“I went and did all right,” Rodin said. “They were definitely looking for a specific body type and they have a certain criteria that they’re looking for...They said I have a lot of work that I still have to do, but if I’m able to do it, they think I’d be a good fit.”

In between her duties as the track and field coach for Mepham, where she oversees both boys and girls programs, Rodin has been working out independently with the aide of her high school coach, St. Anthony’s Oliver St. Aude.

“He helps me with my workout and keeps me very accountable,” said Rodin, who is a special education teacher at Grand Avenue Middle School in Bellmore. “When I’m working out with him, it just feels like I’m getting back into shape like high school track. But, then I think ‘oh my gosh, I’m training to hopefully go to the Olympics in three years.' ”

The fact that she even gets to train for competition is surprising to her. Rodin thought her athletic career was over following a bad car accident while she was running for LaSalle University in 2013.  Despite intensive physical therapy, she wasn’t able to compete again in college.

While in physical therapy, Rodin received a recruitment letter from the U.S. bobsled team. They had noticed her sprinting times at LaSalle and were curious about her interest in possibly attending a bobsled combine. Her health prevented her from attending. She thought that one email would be the extent of her foray into bobsledding. She was wrong.

Last May, Rodin received another invitation to a summer combine session and, after an initial double-take, decided to re-enter the world of competition.

“You think it’s spam,” said Rodin of first opening the email. “…I was really shocked, especially because I haven’t competed in anything in a really long time. I filled it in and when I got the OK to come to the combine, I said ‘all right, I’ll give it a shot.’”

Rodin, who has lyme disease, said that it was difficult to get her body back in shape in under three months and perform at a high level.  But, with more consistent training, she thinks she’ll be ready for her next shot.

“Now that I’m back in, I feel like I’m ready to go and have a lot more that I can do and be ready in July,” Rodin said.

New York Sports