Many years ago, a dream came to mind. A dream to represent my country in a way that presents power, grace and camaraderie. A dream that many people often pursue, but few succeed in achieving. My name is Darryl Payne, Jr., an American skeleton athlete and sprinter/hurdler aspiring for a spot on the United States Olympic Team.
My background in Skeleton lies in a call from the US Olympic Committee to athletes across the country, to try and become the Next Olympic Hopeful . Originally, I was selected to compete to be a fully funded bobsledder, however, I’m much smaller than the necessary mass required to get that sled moving down the track. After the scouting camp was completed, I was pulled aside by the Head Coach for USA Bobsled and was offered an invite to go out to Skeleton School in Lake Placid, New York. The sport is much better suited for my frame and mass. Think about it: I’m 5’9.5”. Bobsled needs me to be 102 kg (225 lbs). Skeleton needs me to be 84 kg (185 lbs). Which do you think would allow me most explosive and powerful? (*Hint-Skeleton)
Once the end of Skeleton school neared, there was the Rookie Push Championship and I placed second after only a week of learning the sport.
A competitor of sprints from the age of 7 years old, and well into my career on the high school track, I’ve been very successful athletically. I’ve set records in Louisiana in numerous races and achieved ranks such as Austin Fit Magazine’s 4th Fittest Man and top 20 status with the True Athlete Games. However, adding this new sport brings about many new challenges—mentally, physically and financially.
The goal is the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
Currently, no African American has ever repesented the United States at the Winter Olympic Games in Skeleton. An added bonus to this new dream would be to serve as a role model for younger minority generations, that in many cases, believe there are no other options. Serving as a light, and a pioneer for my community in this sport would truly be an honor.