Park City Sprinter Makes Olympics In Second Sport
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s high altitude has attracted Olympic athletes from around the world who prepared for the upcoming Tokyo Games, and that includes one man who trained in Park City before — but for an entirely different sport.
It is hard enough for an athlete to make the Olympics. But it’s even tougher to do it in a sport different than the sport you’re known for.
Nathan Ikon Crumpton knew this about as well as anyone.
“Last summer, I was looking at the 100-meter times and I was wondering if I could actually be competitive in the 100-meter dash,” said Crumpton.
Nathan Ikon Crumpton spent 8 yrs on the US Skeleton team but never made an Olympics. So, he switched to sprinting and recently made it as a member of the American Samoa team. He has lived in Park City and was back for altitude training a month before the Tokyo Games. @KSL5TV at 6 pic.twitter.com/cQ2uFAWuyY
— Alex Cabrero (@KSL_AlexCabrero) June 16, 2021
The 100-meter dash is the rock-star event of the track and field world, and Crumpton wanted to be the guy everyone talked about.
“Right now, I’m here in Utah. I’m just doing some tune-ups,” he said.
Crumpton did some training runs recently at the University of Utah track because of Utah’s high elevation.
Training at these altitudes helps athletes, especially runners.
However, Crumpton has been here before, which brings us to his main sport — skeleton.
Crumpton was a member of Team USA Skeleton for eight years and lived in Park City.
“There’s a good amount of overlap between the two sports, between sprinting and skeleton racing, but it’s definitely not a perfect match,” he said.
Crumpton focused a lot on his biomechanics to get used to running with power and force standing upright for a hundred meters, instead of the bent-over position required to push a skeleton sled about 35 meters before jumping on it.
“Competitively, it’s about three times as long, and so training your body to go that much harder for that much longer is actually a pretty steep task,” said Crumpton.
He has plenty of World Championships experience as a skeleton racer but he never made a U.S. Olympic team.
A couple of years ago he decided to switch sports and become a sprinter.
Recently, Crumpton qualified for the Tokyo Olympics by eight hundredths of a second to represent American Samoa in the games.
“I switched over to American Samoa, courtesy of the Polynesian heritage on my mom’s side of the family,” said Crumpton. “They welcomed me with open arms, and I’ve been running for them ever since.”
In less than two months, he will be running in the Olympics.
For him, it’s a dream that will finally come true.
“I feel very fortunate that my aging body can still keep up and very much looking forward to going to Tokyo,” he said with a smile.
He can’t get there fast enough.
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