Only a week after completing his service as an Army soldier in Afghanistan, Olympic bobsledder John Napier is planning a quick return to the World Cup sliding circuit.
Napier will resume sledding in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Monday. After a planned five days of training there, he's eyeing a return to the World Cup circuit in Calgary, Alberta, in early December.
That would mean Napier only misses one stop on the World Cup circuit: The opener on the 2010 Vancouver Olympic track in Whistler, British Columbia, next weekend.
"It is official," Napier wrote in a text message. "I will be back in Lake Placid Monday."
His return has not been formally announced by the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, and it was presumed that Napier could miss as much as the first half of this season's international schedule while he re-acclimates to civilian life. Napier was called to active duty by the Army in June, and went to Afghanistan after two weeks of intense pre-deployment training in Mississippi.
He was sent with the Army National Guard's 86th Infantry Mountain Combat Brigade out of Williston, Vt. Napier announced last Saturday that he left Afghanistan, and he was able to remain in contact with friends and family during the bulk of his deployment.
Napier is one of a long list of sliders who have served as soldiers. Olympic champion Steven Holcomb is a former member of the Army's World Class Athlete Program, and Napier has been part of WCAP as well, which helps provide financial support for his sliding endeavors.
Napier drove USA-2 to a 10th-place finish at the Olympic two-man race in Whistler last February. He was 17th after two runs of the four-man competition after a crash, which knocked his team out of the remainder of the event.