UMD Alumni Train for the Olympics

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By Jamie Weissman

When Bradley Chalupski graduated from this university in 2006, he had a plan. He wanted to go to the Olympics and decided on his ticket there: skeleton.

Skeleton is an Olympic sport in which the athlete slides head-first on an icy
track. It was brought back to the Olympics in 2002 after a 54-year absence.

“When he was graduating from Maryland, he decided that he was going to go
for the Olympics. His best shot was competing in skeleton,” said Philip Nathan, chief
financial officer of the Israeli Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation.

Chalupski began working toward his Olympic dreams with the U.S. National

Development team in Lake Placid, N.Y. He trained at the campus for over 2 years before missing the cut to make the U.S. team. He then joined with the Israeli Federation and decided to compete for Israel.

“He competed in the world championships in 2011 in Germany and in Lake
Placid in 2012. He earned Israel a spot on the World Cup circuit in the 2011-12
season,” said Nathan, an alumnus of this university.

During this time, Chalupski began his involvement with the Israeli Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation and called on Nathan, his former roommate and fellow marching band member, to help him make that transition. The duo began to work toward their goal as Nathan, Chalupski’s fraternity brother in Kappa Kappa Psi, began to raise funds for Chalupski.

As Chalupski continued to take steps toward the Olympics, it seemed things were looking up. After the world championships in 2012, The Baltimore Sun printed a front-page story about the athlete that undoubtedly increased exposure to his cause.

“A lot of our friends from Maryland pitched in and some of the guys on the original bob sled team back in 2002,” Nathan said.

Despite the efforts of Chalupski, Nathan and their supporters, Chalupski was not offered a spot to compete for Israel in the 2014 Olympic games. Although Chalupski had competed well in the past, Nathan said the Israeli National Committee is “ well-known for shutting people down,” and Chalupski ultimately did not meet their standards.

“I would love to see Israel compete because it would be great to see them compete in as many races as possible. I think it would mean a lot to the people of Israel to be represented ever,” sophomore government & politics and education Lauren Mishan said.

Though Nathan said Chalupski is “done as far as him competing,” the duo
has not given up on their dreams of representing Israel in the Olympics.

“We hope to one day put the first Israeli sliding athletes in to the Olympics,” Nathan said.

For more information on the Israel Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation, visit http://www.israelibobsled.com/homepage.html.

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