Powhatan High School graduate and athletic standout Hakeem Abdul-Saboor joins seven other newcomers on the 12-member 2018 U.S. Olympic Men's Bobsled Team. The announcement was made by the USA Bobsled & Skeleton on Monday.
Abdul-Saboor will compete in both two man and four man at the games in PyeongChang with two-time Winter Olympian and pilot Nick Cunningham and teammates Chris Kinney and Sam Michener.
"This journey has been crazy at times but also amazing and I just want to thank everyone for all of your help and support along the way," Abdul-Saboor wrote on Instagram. "I could not have made it without you."
The 2005 Powhatan High graduate played basketball, football, and track, though Abdul-Saboor said football was his passion. He led the Powhatan Indians to a career record of 36-3, playing multiple offense positions and cornerback on defense.
"His speed, strength and athletic ability will make him a great addition to the Bobsled team," said Coach Dewey Lusk, the head coach at University of Virginia at Wise. "Hakeem is probably the best all-around athlete I have ever coached."
Abdul-Saboor took a football scholarship at the University of Virginia College at Wise, where he played running back. An ACL injury ended his football career in his senior year, also ending future professional football prospects.
Abdul-Saboor was discovered by strength coach Brad DeWeese, who watched a video recording of an explosive jump that touched his head to the ceiling. The coach invited Abdul-Saboor to try out and after several months of intense training he pushed the fastest of the group of men who competed in the Preliminary Push Championships at Lake Placid, seizing first place by .16 seconds.
He went on to become the 2015 National Push Champion and eventually earned a spot on the USA National team, where he competed with Olympic Gold Medalist Steve Holcomb.
Holcomb, who would have been competing in his fourth Olympics, passed away in May 2017. He had earned three Olympic medals, 10 world championship medals and 60 world cup medals.