Former UofL rower going for Olympic bobsled dream

Former UofL rower training, fundraising to reach Olympic bobsledding goal

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - For an athlete, it’s the ultimate goal; becoming an Olympian.

On Thursday a Louisville woman will begin training in Switzerland to try and do just that, hoping to make Team USA in Bobsled.

The only issue is up until a few months ago, Kiara Loucks had no experience in the sport.

Loucks, who moved to Louisville from Fort Collins, Colorado several years ago, is a former University of Louisville rower who lived in Poland about a year and half ago working in a program with professional athletes. That’s when she connected with bobsledding. Now, Loucks starts every day with an inspirational quote.

Loucks was a rower at UofL and is now pursuing her dream of becoming an Olympic bobsledder.
Loucks was a rower at UofL and is now pursuing her dream of becoming an Olympic bobsledder. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

“No matter the circumstances you will always try your best and never give up,” she read.

Loucks now believes anything is possible. It sums up who she is. So, how did the one time Cardinal walk-on rower go from daily workouts to Bobsled? She Googled it.

“What Olympic sport doesn’t require training for it, your entire life?" Loucks recalled Googling. “I found Bobsled and curling and I watched Cool Runnings in my apartment in Poland and that was it, I was hooked.”

For those who don’t know, Cool Runnings is a 1993 comedy in which Jamaican athletes compete in bobsled competition.

After that, Loucks messaged the Olympic coach.

“They were looking for a sports resume which was a stretch," she remembered. "I definitely stretched a couple of things on that one.”

Loucks said the coach probably knew about the exaggeration, but invited her down anyway.

She said nothing was stopping her.

“I was just going to figure out how to make it happen," Loucks said.

Loucks trained at Fern Creek Cross Fit for some time, then started work on the ice for the two-member crew Women’s Bobsled in Park City, Utah. And the danger is real.

“Bobsled is about 450 pounds plus another human being,” Loucks said. "So, when you filter in going in at 90 plus miles per hour and you flip [the sled], there’s no kicking away from it.”

Piloting the sled also includes visualizing yourself in the curve.

“You really drive based off of feel,” she learned.

Her rowing experience is key in her training. While it may seem like rowing is all arms, 70 percent is legs, fueling her on the ice. But Loucks has received another source of fuel for her bobsledding fantasy - fundraising.

EL Toro Marketing in Louisville and JRH Brewing in Johnson City, Tennessee are among the businesses helping Loucks with expenses by fundraising, as well as her GoFundMe page titled “Kiara Loucks USA Bobsled." All that community support is providing her inspiration.

Loucks created a GoFundMe account to help fundraise in order to get to the Olympics.
Loucks created a GoFundMe account to help fundraise in order to get to the Olympics. (Source: GoFundMe)

“To anyone who is struggling early in the morning or late at night in pursuit of your dream, struggles that many will never see and to leaders out there who believe in someone who does not yet believe in themselves, keep going. Keep going because will always finds a way," Loucks recited, finishing her inspirational quote.

If that isn’t inspiring enough, Loucks said a few years ago she suffered an eating disorder. Getting into rowing gave her strength and confidence to get healthy. Her reason for going to Switzerland on Thursday is to get her pilot certification to become a rookie for Team USA, in the hope of eventually making the team.

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