‘It’s just unbelievable’: London native working to achieve Olympic dreams
LONDON, Ky. (WYMT) - Laurel County native and athlete Austin Hayes has always dreamed big.
After running track and field at South Laurel, Hayes ended up transitioning from a summer sport to one found at the winter games.
“I knew I was going to go into something, did some research, landed on bobsled,” Hayes said. “Was invited out to a rookie camp, transitioned over to the sport skeleton and actually ended up winning the rookie camp championships as a rookie.”
Hayes continued to chase his Olympic dream, even as his money for travel ran low.
“You have the nutrition, the supplements, the rehabilitation, the equipment and all that extra stuff as well,” Hayes said. “So, to try and get sponsorships has been a bit of a challenge to get supported for a sport that has its own little niche.”
Despite that, he is thankful for the support from his hometown as he continues his search for sponsors to keep his goals on track.
“Even when I was in high school and I was a senior in high school trying to go to the Olympics in track and field, the support then was even crazy to have that support as a high schooler,” Hayes said. “Now, to be in the position I’m in to still have that support, it’s just unbelievable.”
His next step will be in Utah next week for another training camp as he looks ahead to the next stage.
“I think in December they’re having a North American cup and then obviously the big goal is to the Olympics,” Hayes said. “If not in Beijing in February then 2026 in Milan.”
An athlete with Eastern Kentucky roots is hoping to make his way to the top level of his sport.
London native Austin Hayes is working towards his Olympic dreams while attending college full-time at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. Hayes was a track and field athlete at South Laurel High School before developing an interest in bobsledding.
Hayes transitioned to Skeleton and has since earned a spot on the Team USA Developmental Team and is attempting to raise funds to make the dream a reality.
When speaking with WYMT Wednesday afternoon, Hayes said the support he has gotten from his home area is making the hard work and dedication worth it.
“It’s been incredible. Even when I was in high school and I was a senior in high school trying to go to the Olympics in track and field, the support then was even crazy to have that support as a high schooler,” Hayes said. “Now, to be in the position I’m in to still have that support, it’s just unbelievable.”
You can tune in to WYMT Mountain News this evening to hear more from Hayes.
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