Every week, as I write and visualize my next Throwback Thursday Husker feature, I inevitably bother three people EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
Photojournalist Tyler White… because he’s not busy enough shooting and piecing together daily news stories, or shooting Nebraska football games on the sidelines every weekend.. he’s also a GENIUS when it comes to editing these Throwback stories. He KNOWS the game; he KNOWS Nebraska Football; he KNOWS where every, single shot is in our archives. He now RUNS from me when I start walking his way on Wednesday or Thursday.. but I will CHASE him because he’s just that darn good.
Producer/Editor/Photographer Josh Gear… because, simply put, THE GUY IS A GENIUS. If you have a technical question about ANYTHING, from YouTube conversions to graphics to format, Josh is THE MAN to help you. And he does it with a smile and positive attitude 24/7… even though he may be cursing on the inside because I bother him so much.
Sports Anchor/Reporter Matt Lothrop… because he is A VAULT of Nebraska football information. A VAULT. The dude knows every stat, every inside story, every little-known tidbit of info about the program. He can also find EVERYTHING I need when it comes to highlights and archive video. Yesterday, I asked for two clips from games in 2003 and 2001.. Matt brought them to my desk within 10 minutes. Folks, we just moved buildings–the fact he even knew where these tapes were is INSANE to me!
When Matt came over to my desk, knowing I needed the material for a Throwback story, he asked who I was featuring.
#35 Curt Tomasevicz, Fullback/Linebacker, 1999-2003 (Photo courtesy Nebraska Athletics)
When I told him it was Curt Tomasevicz, Matt said, “I really hope that guy never gets into broadcasting. He’s good at everything he does!”
PROOF: 3-time Olympic Bobsledder, winning gold for the USA in 2010. Holds a Master’s in Engineering and is working on his PhD WHILE teaching students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Plays guitar with his own band, and was even invited up on stage to play with legendary front man Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam.
I first heard about Curt YEARS ago through one of my friends, Mike Tomasevicz. Every time I’d see him, he’d tell me about his cousin, Curt, and the incredible things he was doing with the US National Bobsled team.. that they were winning events left and right and might make it to the Olympics. In 2006, THEY DID, representing America at the Turin games.
Maybe it’s like eating one Lays potato chip.. you can’t just have ONE, you want MORE.
Tomasevicz and Team Night Train continued to compete, winning the World Championship in 4-man bobsled in 2009. Together, they traveled north to Vancouver to vie for Olympic Gold.
(Photo courtesy http://www.tomaseviczbobsled.com/)
February of 2010, Tomasevicz and the USA 4-man team ended a 62-year gold medal drought, winning Olympic Gold in the Vancouver Games. They’d return to the Olympics four years later, winning Bronze at the 2014 games in Sochi. By the time Tomasevicz retired from bobsledding in 2014, he’d earned a total of 11 world medals, including 9 World Championships in addition to his Olympic hardware. (And in case you are wondering, that gold medal IS HEAVY.. Tomasevicz says, weighing about 19 ounces!)
An incredible feat, no doubt. What is also impressive to me is the way ‘Nebraska’s Olympian’ has handled his success… humble, gracious and down-to-earth. From the get-go, as KETV followed Tomasevicz’s success, he has responded to every text, every phone call, every email. He’s never ‘too busy’, or ‘too big’ for his home state. He’s a Shelby, Nebraska native who has never forgotten his roots, even if a few Husker fans may have forgotten that before he hit the bobsled track, he was a walk-on at Nebraska hitting the field at Memorial Stadium.
“I think the walk-ons that go through this program have an enhanced sense of pride when they come here,” Tomasevicz recently told KETV’s Andrew Ozaki. “A lot come from central Nebraska, small farm town communities, and they grew up watching this team.”
Tomasevicz started at fullback, then moved to linebacker his junior year, playing in five games. He had a huge moment his senior year against Colorado in the opening drive of the game.
“That was definitely a highlight because when I hit Jeremy Bloom, at the time we were both football players, later on we were both Olympians,” said Tomasevicz. “He’s a downhill skier I met, and reminded him of that moment at the 2006 Opening Ceremonies. He went on to play in the NFL, so he had the last laugh.”
Tomasevicz’s favorite moment came two years earlier before Nebraska’s game even began. The Huskers’ game with Rice was moved to a week night, just days after the attacks on America on September 11, 2001.
“I think we were one of the first sporting events that took place, they moved our game up,” said Tomasevicz. “When we played at Memorial Stadium, we didn’t do the Tunnel Walk. We silently walked out onto the field and we had members of the armed services, as well as firefighters and police officers, they did our Tunnel Walk. That was a pretty incredible moment, being a part of that. I think that moment, at that time, made me realize there are things that are a lot more important than sports.”
Off the field, Tomasevicz earned Bachelors & Masters degrees in Engineering, making the Academic Honor roll all eight semesters of his college career. He was also named to he 2003 Brook Berringer Citizenship Team for his work in the community, especially with kids. Those volunteer efforts continued long after his time at Nebraska ended.
Photo courtesy Sammy’s Superheroes & Amanda Polacek
Tomasevicz has been a longtime supporter of causes like Sammy’s Superheroes, raising money for children with cancer and their families. He not only sends them personal messages, he takes part in their events and fundraisers. He also speaks to schools across the state, sharing his story and advice with any class that invites him. (Click here to learn more through his website.)
Recently, Tomasevicz also took on a new role: professor. He’s teaching several engineering courses at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln while working on a PhD in biological systems engineering. In the classroom, Tomasevicz doesn’t want to be known as the Olympian or the former Husker; he just wants his students to see him as their instructor.
“I just hope they think I have enough experience that I know what I’m talking about,” said Tomasevicz, who used much of his engineering education, including aerodynamics and biomechanics, during his bobsledding career. “A lot of [what I do] is introducing engineering topics and concepts and kind of disguising it in an exciting way through sports. If you can find a way to use real life, real world situations, it usually gets them a little more excited.”
As for today’s Huskers, there’s no scientific formula to fix the problems that have plagued Nebraska this season. (“That’s a sophomore level class, I’m sure,” joked Tomasevicz.) Still, this Husker, turned Olympian, turned professor, reflects back once again the experiences, often stemming from sports, that have helped shaped him.
“We had some highs and lows, too. You just have to wait out those lows,” said Tomasevicz. “Being patient is a big thing. Everybody makes mistakes. Time will tell. It puts into perspective Nebraska is not that guaranteed victory they used to be. Nebraska will have to work hard for those wins. Eventually they will come.”
Tomasevicz, a season ticket holder and self-described huge Husker fan, will keep on cheering for his team either from the sidelines or from wherever he is performing Saturdays.
Yes, performing.. he’s ALSO a guitar player, and his band, Blinker Fluid, plays at weddings and events across the state.
From science, to sports, to music, to LIFE.. here’s a guy who does what makes him happy, works hard at every challenge before him, and has found remarkable success on several fronts. He’s not just an All-American guy, he’s All-Nebraskan, and proud of it.
I think Matt Lothrop was on to something… Curt, next time I bump into you at a Pearl Jam concert, I may try to convince you to join our team here at KETV. You’d fit right in with Tyler, Josh and Matt. Husker, Olympian, Teacher, Throwback Thursday expert? I’m no scientist, but the idea is clearly GOLD.