Olympic bobsled pilot from San Antonio undergoes appendectomy

PARK CITY, UT - SEPTEMBER 26: Bobsledder Justin Olsen poses for a portrait during the Team USA Media Summit ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games on September 26, 2017 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
PARK CITY, UT - SEPTEMBER 26: Bobsledder Justin Olsen poses for a portrait during the Team USA Media Summit ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games on September 26, 2017 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (KXAN) — U.S. bobsled pilot Justin Olsen was admitted to the hospital with acute appendicitis Monday evening, two nights before the start of unofficial training at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.

The U.S. Olympic Committee says Olsen, 30, is still expected to compete in the two-man competition on Feb. 18-19 and four-man races on Feb. 24-25.

The athlete underwent a successful laparoscopic appendectomy in Gangneung, the committee said. “We are hoping Justin will recover quickly enough to compete in the two-man race,” said USA Bobsled and Skeleton CEO Darrin Steele. “The timing is unfortunate and we are heartbroken for Justin, but he’s shown us over the years that he’s capable of overcoming adversity and coming out on top.”

Steele says there’s no question that Olsen is mentally ready, but the team is looking at their options in case he physically can’t compete.

Olsen is one of three pilots to earn a spot on the 2018 team. This is his third Olympic selection and his first in the front seat of the sled. The committee says he was a member of Steven Holcomb’s four-man gold medal winning team at the 2010 Vancouver Games and competed as one of Nick Cunningham’s crew in the 2014 Sochi Games four-man event.

Another Texan, former Rice University football player Sam McGuffie of Houston, is also on the team.

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