Dutch bobsledder Edwin van Calker was active in gymnastics and tennis as a child and excelled in track & field during his formative years. In 1998, the skilled decathlete placed fifth at the Junior World Championships. Shortly thereafter, van Calker was approached by the Dutch bobsled team and went on to attend a FIBT bobsled school in Igls, Austria. In 2001, he was added to the national Dutch roster and eventually went on to compete as a pusher on two-time Olympian Arend Glas' four-man team in Salt Lake City. But it was after those games that van Calker moved to the front seat in the men's events.
Van Calker's four-man team -- featuring brother Arnold, Sybren Jansma and Arno Klassen -- drove to a silver-medal win in the 2009 World Cup competition in Koenigssee, Germany to beat Olympic gold medalist Andre Lange by .01 seconds. He ultimately piloted the Netherlands to their first-ever medal finish in a World Cup event.
With his brother, Arnold, van Calker grew up on his parents' vegetable farm. "My Mom was a full-time housewife, so when we came out of school, she was there with a cup of tea and the cookies," van Calker says. "[It was] all very relaxed and quiet." He also earned a Master's degree in economics, with a specialty in stock markets, from the University of Groningen. Off the track, van Calker works for a pension fund in Groningen.
As the pilot for the USA-1 bobsled, I broke a 62-year gold medal drought when my sled, the 'Night Train" won the Olympic title at the 2010 Vancouver Games. A degenerative eye condition nearly caused me to quit my sport in 2008, but corrective surgery restored my vision to 20-20.