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PARK CITY — A Park City skeleton athlete with a dream of competing in the Winter Olympics recently got one step closer by being named to the 2015-2016 USA World Cup and national team.
Nathan Ikon Crumpton said he did track and field in college, competing in the long and triple jump; however, it wasn't until he graduated that he discovered the sport of skeleton.
"I thought it was just a thrilling opportunity," he said. "I came out here to Park City to see it in person and thought I just had to give it a try."
Crumpton fell in love with the fast-paced winter sport and qualified for the U.S. skeleton team in 2011 and has competed with it ever since. After competing in two competitions in New York and one in Park City, Crumpton was among 10 athletes who were named to the 2015-2016 USA Skeleton World Cup and national Skeleton team on Nov. 6, according to USA Bobsled and Skeleton marketing and communications director Amanda Bird.
"Crumpton edged out a competitive field in selection races by 23 points to earn his first World Cup nomination," Bird said. After recovering from a recent knee surgery, Crumpton said he was surprised to make the World Cup team.
"I was stunned," he said. "I didn't dream of finishing in second or making the World Cup team at all. I qualified fifth last year, but I had knee surgery over the summer and didn't expect to get top five again because of the slow recovery. In fact, I almost didn't even compete in team trials at all as I nearly took the season off completely to recuperate. But now I'm glad I took the chance and competed. The result definitely exceeded my expectations and it still hasn't fully sunk in yet."
Crumpton will represent the U.S. and compete with the team on the World Cup and Intercontinental Cup tours. The World Cup tour kicks off Nov. 27-28 in Altenberg, Germany, and moves to Lake Placid, New York, from Jan. 8-9 and Park City from Jan. 15-16. The World Championships will be held Feb. 8-21, 2016 in Igls, Austria.
While the team that will represent the U.S. in the next Winter Olympics won't be decided until right before, Crumpton said competing on the World Cup team is a "big step in the right direction" for him. He hopes to compete on the U.S. team in the 2018 Winter Olympics.