November 21, 2009
Winning is habit-killing: John Napier and Lake Placid track manager Tony Carlino made a bet....Napier wins, Carlino kicks a decades-long smoking habit. When Napier crossed the finish line with the victory, Carlino said, "Napier just crushed my last pack of cigarettes. He's gonna save me $50 a week."
Carlino, a close friend of Napier's father and fellow bobsledder Bill Napier, fought back tears with John's win. Bill passed away in 2005 and passed his passion for the sport to John. Carlino was on the bobsled scene when John began driving in 1994 and was overcome when John reached the pinnacle of the sport today.
U.S. men's head coach Brian Shimer, a 2002 Olympic bronze medalist, was singing John Napier's praises in the Bodine race shop during a photo shoot after the event. "I think you began driving before I did," said Shimer jokingly to Napier, who learned the sport on this course at the age of eight. For the record, Napier began driving bobsleds in 1994, Shimer in 1989.