Jacobo feeds off adrenaline for para-bobsledding success
LAKE PLACID — Steven Jacobo is a self-described adrenaline junky, so hurtling himself down the bobsled track this weekend at Mount Van Hoevenberg doesn’t rattle the 28-year-old at all.
Jacobo is a member of the USA Para-Bobsleigh team, and after reaching one podium during the World Cup season, he is ranked 10th in the world. Jacobo is one of two Americans who will compete in Lake Placid at the IBSF Para Sport World Championships on Saturday and Sunday, along with teammate Christ Rasmussen.
Hailing from Gardnerville, Nevada, near Lake Tahoe, Jacobo said he’s been involved in bobsled since 2014, about a year after suffering a back injury.
“I’ve always been kind of an adrenaline junky. Growing up I always skated and did stunt shows, did extreme sports like that, and obviously snowboarding,” he said at the Olympic Training Center earlier this week. “Bobsledding was the right fit for all that, just to kind of fuel the fire in a way.
“I fell in love with it when I was out in Canada learning to bobsled.”
The para-sport World Cup season wrapped up last month in St. Moritz, Switzerland, and Jacobo’s top race was a third-place finish in Calgary in December. Jacobo said his season could have gone better, but he’s focused on the championships now.
“I was out for over a year and a half, so this year I’m getting back into again, learning a bunch of new tracks and getting the feel for it again,” he said. “But overall, I think I’m doing pretty good. In Canada I tied with Christ for third, and then in Germany and Norway– those were two new tracks that I’ve never been on, so it was good to learn those tracks as well.
“Here in Lake Placid, I like this one. There’s more driving involved and I think I have a better shot here. So far, everything has been going good (during training runs). My only issue right now is fixing corner 17.”
Jacobo said Mount Van Hoevenberg’s reputation as a difficult track preceded it, and he was a little worried before taking a few runs.
“I was (intimidated) at first because of all the stories you hear, but after being on it, no, not really,” he said. “It’s really fun, I’m having a good time being here. After coming back from Switzerland — one of the fastest tracks in the world — coming to this one doesn’t really feel all that fast. But it might be a different story if you go from the top.”
Jacobo said he came to Lake Placid a couple days early to get in some extra runs on the track, and that training has been going well.
“I memorized the track pretty fast, and feel like I’m getting the hang of it,” he said. “I know what to do, it’s just a matter of doing it. My only issue really, as of right now, is corner 17. So once I perfect that I think I’ll be OK.”
Jacobo said he hopes to at least repeat his best finish of the season this weekend, as heats begin on Saturday and continue Sunday.
“Obviously, I’d like to make the top three, for sure,” he said. “That would be great, especially being at a home track.”
Racing starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday at the Mount Van Hoevenberg Olympic Sports Complex. Admission to the competitions is $9 for adults and teens and $7 for juniors and seniors. Children six and under receive free admission.