Photo courtesy https://www.teamusa.org/usa-bobsled-skeleton-federation/athletes/Carlo-Valdes

A Newport Beach man is one of four U.S. bobsled pushers who are 21st in the 29 team field entering the final runs at the Winter Olympics Saturday.

Carlo Valdes of Newport Beach and his team will compete in the third heat at the Olympic Sliding Centre in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Their first push-off is set for 4:30 p.m. Pacific time Saturday, and the second at 6:15 p.m. The heats will be first aired on cable’s NBC Sports Network and shown on delay in the main NBC prime-time coverage.

This will be the third heat at the Olympic Sliding Centre in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The sled piloted by Justin Olsen was 21st on its first run in 49.62 seconds and 20th on its second in 49.71. Its total time of 1.39.33, put it 1.22 behind the leader, the German sled piloted by Francesco Friedrich.

“We went with an aggressive setup, and I recognized before the race that we were already at a little bit of a disadvantage based on experience,” said Olsen, a member of the four-man bobsled team, which won the gold medal in the 2010 Vancouver Games.

“In training, we were hit and miss, and we came out today, same thing. Am I upset? Yes. Am I completely surprised? No, I’ve been in this sport for a long time. But I thought I would have more control than that in the first and second curve.”

The U.S. sled piloted by Codie Bascue is ninth, the one by Nick Cunningham 20th.

The 27-year-old Valdes was introduced to bobsledding by Andreas Drbal, a U.S. national team member who had been a track and field teammate at UCLA.

Valdes began his bobsledding career in 2014 and was the 2015 USA Men’s Bobsled Rookie of the Year for the 2014-15 season. He has won eight medals in World Cup races.

The other pushers on the team are Chris Fogt, a member of the four-man bobsled crew that won a bronze medal in the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and Nathan Weber, a U.S. Army special forces operative.

Olsen piloted a two-man bobsled team to a 14th-place finish Monday, 14 days after undergoing an emergency appendectomy.

—City News Service

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