UM’s Alex Mustard Wins ‘Olympic Hopefuls’ Bobsled Competition
For the last five years, University of Montana sprinter Alex Mustard has been representing the Grizzlies on the track, and now he has set his sights even higher, to represent Montana and the United States on the U.S. Olympic Bobsled Team.
KGVO News spoke with Mustard just after his winning ‘Olympic Hopefuls’ performance was broadcast on KECI-TV, several months after it happened.
“That event in July was filmed by NBC producers,” said Mustard. “There were six sports represented and each sport picked one athlete that they named as their next Olympic hopeful and I was very lucky to be picked as the next Olympic hopeful for the sport of Bobsled. The competition was in July and it just aired this past weekend, so I had to keep it under wraps for the past six months. During those six months I’ve been back and forth training and racing with the USA Bobsled Team.”
Mustard said that at age 24, he has chosen a difficult and challenging road, traveling across the country to train and compete, instead of settling down to a career and raising a family.
“I’m kind of the Lone Ranger right now,” he said. “There’s a little wear and tear traveling around to all the competitions. There are just so few bobsled tracks around the world so they’re difficult to get to at times, I spend only about a third of my time in Missoula and a lot of time in Lake Placid (New York) and I’ve been spending time in Park City (Utah). I’ll be flying to Germany in January, and for that reason it’s tough for athletes to have any steady job or a relationship. However, at this point I’m 24 and this is the best time to pursue an opportunity like this.”
Mustard said the financial burden of travel and training is daunting, but he is receiving help from a Go Fund Me page.
“Most athletes are required to fund their own way for travel and lodging,” he said. “You might fly from Lake Placid to Park City where you have to find a place to stay for 10 days and of course we eat a lot. I do have a Go Fund Me account and I’ve received a ton of help from that avenue. In addition, I’ve had a ton of people contact me directly to help because they think what I am doing is unique, and I need all the support I can get.”
Mustard said the next Winter Olympic Games are in February, 2022, which gives Mustard nearly two years to hone his skills and make the team.
“The team won’t be announced until about six weeks prior to the opening ceremonies, so generally in the six to eight months prior to the games there’s a pretty good idea of who’s on the cusp of making the team. What’s good for me is that I still have a couple of years because many of the other athletes have been competing for years and have lots of experience and I’m still learning a lot, so I think I’m in a great position right now.”
Mustard has a message to any and all that may read this story or hear the interview on KGVO Radio and on Newstalk KGVO dot com.
“I’m trying to do something very unique, and so far I’ve been able to do have the opportunity to pursue the sport,” he said. “It would be very easy for me not to pursue the bobsled or the Olympics and just settle in to a full time job, but I’m making a lot of sacrifices just to do something special to represent Missoula and to represent Montana, and to do that I may need some outside assistance. I’ll continue to train as hard as I can and put myself in the best position I can for success.”