He’s already got the outfit, so why not put him on a sled?
That wasn’t quite the thinking of USA Bobsled and Skeleton, which invited “The Freeze” to one of its training camps, but officials say “The Freeze” so far fits the part.
On Thursday, the organization revealed it recruited the famous Atlanta Braves groundsman, who became an Internet sensation for racing fans at games while wearing a sky blue bodysuit and ski goggles, and invited him to rookie push training camp.
“It was that clip that’s all over now where the guy falls at the end and (Talton) just comes from so far behind to beat this guy,” Team USA recruiter Mike Dionne said via the team’s website, referring to a video of Nigel Talton as “the Freeze” that went viral over the summer. “So of course all of our initial thoughts were that we have to get this guy to try out for the bobsledding and skeleton team.”
Talton, 26, who briefly ran for Iowa Wesleyan, where he broke a 23-year-old record his freshman year by running the 100-meter sprint in 10.73 seconds, did not disappoint.
“He did really well on the testing, which was not a surprise because we knew he was fast,” Dionne said, adding that because Talton is “a smaller guy” he thought he’d be better suited for skeleton than a bobsled.
“It reaffirmed what we thought, that skeleton would be more suitable for Nigel, so we’re going to invite him back to camp in November and get him on a sled.”
Talton, who joined the Braves grounds crew in 2012, is excited about the opportunity, but isn’t letting himself get carried away.
“If I have the chance to make [an Olympic team] it will be great, but for right now I’m just getting my feet wet, getting a foot in the door and learning the sport,” Talton said.
Should Talton make a future team, he wouldn’t be the first track athlete to transition to winter sports. While less common in skeleton, which requires athletes to get a running start before lying face down and forward on a fast-moving sled, bobsled has seen plenty of track stars make the team. For example, over half of the U.S. team that qualified for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi had prominent track backgrounds, including Olympians Lauryn Williams and Lolo Jones.
Even if he proves excellent next month, it is highly unlikely Talton, with almost no experience, he would be able to qualify for the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Plus, as he told The Post earlier this year, his primary athletic goal remains to qualify for the 2018 world indoor track and field championships.
“I’m just praying on it,” Talton said Thursday. “I want to inspire others not to give up on their dreams. You fail if you don’t try. I’m just trying to chase my dreams and not give up.”