Be you – Orange County Register

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — At first Steve Holcomb as much as anything was a challenge to a young woman who had never ducked one in her life and had the scars to prove it.

By the time skeleton rider Katie Uhlaender arrived at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, New York more than a decade ago bobsledder Holcomb was already a legendary recluse.

“He was a hermit and wouldn’t come out of his (dorm) room and I was brand new to the training center and I was just like ‘Ah, this dude needs to come out of his shell,’”  Uhlaender recalled. “So so every day I would knock on his door and invite him to do things.”

She finally lured Holcomb out of the dorm with the prospect of driving a push cart, normally used for dry land training, around the complex.

“We were running around the OTC and riding it around the hallways then we were like, ‘Let’s take it out to the parking lot,’” said Uhlaender, who competes in her fourth Olympic Games this week.

At one point Holcomb, who would go on to win a gold medal at the 2010 Olympic Games in the 4-man bobsled, got caught up in the moment.

“He went hard, he pushed the thing super fast and jumped on it, like this 220 pound dude on this plastic sled,” Uhlaender growing more excited as she recounted the story.

“And he started cruising so fast down the parking lot that he didn’t see there was this pothole,” she continued laughing so hard that she had to catch her breath, “and he hit it and everything exploded and he started rolling and I died laughing. We named the pothole ‘Holcomb’s Hole.’

“That was the first moment where we really became best friends. Like from that day on we hung out like every day and it was epic.”

Again she gave in to laughter at the memory and then tried to catch her breath..

“I think they filled (the hole) in now.”

Unlike the hole Holcomb’s death last May left in her heart.

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Even before Holcomb’s death, Uhlaender was no stranger to tragedy or…

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