Brian Shimer balances training and family as an Olympic Bobsleding expert with a home base in sunny Naples.
There are few people who are a better example of “anything is possible” than Brian Shimer. The native of Naples competed in five Winter Olympics, winning a handful of bronze medals and championships in bobsledding. In last year’s Winter Olympics, he coached the U.S. team to its first gold bobsledding medal in 62 years.
Shimer grew up on the beaches of Naples and finds it ironic that his career choice is far from the sandy shores and balmy summers. Instead of a tan, he earned bronze, ending the 46-year drought for the U.S. men’s bobsled team with a medal in the four-man event at Salt Lake City in 2002. “Nobody really had confidence,” he says. “But, I won. And any color was like being an Olympic champion.”
Having the team he recruited and coached win a gold medal was another far-from-Florida milestone. “I knew the moments they were going through,” he says. “And, I was instrumental in that moment, which was very rewarding.”
Shimer attended Morehead State on a football scholarship and returned to Naples post-graduation to figure out what to do with his life. He thought about going back to school for a teaching degree, but was off at age 23 to train and travel after his football coach received a letter seeking athletes.
While most kids from up north logged sled time, Shimer remembers the pursuits of his childhood. “Back in the day, we all rode our bikes to Doctors Pass before the condos were built,” he says. “We would ride over the rocks and down onto the beach.” He spent a lot of time on boats, picnicking and hanging out on Keewaydin.
To read the rest of Brian Shimer's story, pick up a copy of Naples Illustrated's October 2010 issue here.