This Former Football Highlight Star Became an Olympic Bobsledder

Sam McGuffie was a viral football highlight star.

Sam McGuffie
Sam McGuffie #2 of the Rice Owls makes a diving catch against the Air Force Falcons on December 29, 2012 during the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
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Sam McGuffie did not dream of being an Olympian. The 28-year-old, who will compete for the U.S. on the two- and four-man bobsled teams in Pyeongchang, South Korea, dreamed of a football career. McGuffie grew up in Cypress, Texas, and played football for Cy-Fair High School. The four-star recruit was the nation’s No. 17 running back in the class of 2008. But what made him nationally known was a viral highlight video of him hurdling over people. He says to this day, people still bring it up.

McGuffie committed to Michigan, where he played just one season before transferring to Rice, where he rushed for 1,057 yards and seven touchdowns over three seasons. He was in the NFL in 2013, splitting time between the Raiders, Cardinals, and Patriots. In 2015, he was introduced to bobsledding by one of his track and strength coaches, Casey Thom. Other past football players have picked up bobsledding, including Herschel Walker, former CFL receiver Johnny Quinn, and former Tulsa linebacker Todd Hays.
McGuffie also tried track when he was a senior at Rice. Bobsledding combines strength and speed, so its perfect for him. But he said it is very different than what people think.

“You look at it ‘Oh, it looks smooth, it’s just going down the ice, it’s a joyride’ — it’s nothing like that,” he said, according to SB Nation. “It’s totally polar opposite of that. It’s violent. It’s like being put in a garbage can and being kicked down a flight of stairs for a minute straight.”

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