SOCHI, Russia — Curtis Tomasevicz, Olympic bronze and gold medalist in the bobsled, came extremely close to becoming an Air Force football player.

He wanted to play for Fisher DeBerry, and there was no doubt DeBerry wanted Tomasevicz to wear an Air Force uniform.

It was all set.

Then Tomasevicz suffered a broken collarbone two days before Air Force's required physical exam.

Goodbye, Air Force.

And hello to a long and winding road to the Olympics.

Tomasevicz, a longtime resident of the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center, capped his bobsled career Sunday with a bronze-medal effort in the four-man bobsled. He and Steve Holcomb, Steve Langton and Chris Fogt finished behind silver medalist Latvia and gold medalist Russia. Tomasevicz was part of a gold-medal bobsled team at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

He's an unlikely bobsled Olympian. He grew up in Shelby, Neb., a town of 690 (on a good day) in the middle of America's vast prairie. He spent his high school days studying diligently and playing football. He spent his summers driving a tractor. He spent no time in a bobsled, largely because there were no bobsleds to be found in the flatlands of Nebraska.

After his collarbone mishap, Tomasevicz enrolled at Nebraska, where he earned a roster spot on the football team as a walk-on. By a happy fluke, he later discovered his future sport. Amanda Morley, a fellow Cornhusker, told Tomasevicz she planned to experiment with bobsledding and asked if he wanted to join her.

He said yes.

Turns out, Tomasevicz had an ideal frame for bobsledding. So began his decade-long chase of Olympic medals.

He's been joined in his quest by the residents of Shelby. Steak feeds and street dances and golf tournaments were used to raise funds for Shelby's favorite athlete. Hundreds of Shelby residents wear T shirts that read "Proud Supporter of Curtis Tomasevicz."

He carried the hopes of Shelby 6,000 miles away to Sochi, and his quest concluded in a satisfying way Sunday.

Tomasevicz, thrilled to again claim a medal, announced his pending departure from his unlikely sport of choice.

"That's enough for me," said the bobsledder who almost became a Falcon.


Twitter: @davidramz