With the luge competition wrapping up in Sochi and bobsledding getting underway this weekend, it’s a good time to remember that there was a time when the draw for American viewers to the sport wasn’t just the Jamaicans. In 1992, Walker tried out for – and made – the U.S. bobsledding team, first as a member of the four-man team but later being switched to a two-man team for the 1992 Albertville Olympics. The American mens bobsled teams had enjoyed success in early Winter Olympics but failed to medal in either two- or four-man competitions thanks to the rise of European powers (mostly ZE GERMANS). Still, Walker, paired with Brian Shimer, finished seventh, 0.32 seconds out of medal position which is still pretty impressive.
Even more impressive? Walker did all of this while he was still an integral part of an NFL team. While some of his teammates probably had a hard time staying shape during the offseason, Walker was an Olympian. Not only that, but the following season, his first with Philly, he rushed for over 1,000 yards.
Walker wasn’t the first NFL player to have an Olympic history: Jim Thorpe and Bob Hayes are two of the most well-known and successful examples. But Walker is among the very few players who participated in the Olympics in the middle of his career; most Olympian NFLers got their rings before their NFL careers.
Another NFL player who did so and did the bobsled, too, but was overlooked was Willie Gault. Gault would have had the trifecta of NFL, Winter, and Summer Olympics, but he had the unfortunate timing of being at his Summer Olympic peak in 1980 when the U.S. boycotted the Moscow Olympics. Of course, we can just sub in the fact he was on the Super Bowl XX champion Bears team and the ringleader behind the “Super Bowl Shuffle,” which is worth a million gold medals. In 1988, while still with the Bears, Gault was a member of the U.S. bobsled crew. That year, at the Calgary Olympics, it was all about the Commies, though, who dominated the competition. He was traded to the Raiders before the 1988 off-season where he went on to have a pretty solid remainder of his career.
As for Walker, he was a YOLO type of guy before Drake was out of diapers. In 1988, Walker participated in a performance of the Fort Worth Ballet. Oh, and he’s also participated in MMA because why not?