The Salem News
---- — After winning a bronze medal in the Winter Olympic two-man bobsled event, former St. John’s Prep and Northeastern University track star Steve Langton called home. It took several tries for him to get through from Sochi, Russia, but when he finally reached his parents and brother Sean, Langton told his mother he had won a medal for her.
Langton, the world push champion, had to give it a little extra at the start of the two-man race because driver Steve Holcomb had injured his calf on the second run the day before. Sliding down the mile track at speeds up to 80 miles per hour, every hundredth of a second counts.
“Knowing Holcomb had injured his leg, we were very nervous,” said Anne Langton, who admitted she was holding her breath during their runs. “All that was going through my mind was ‘Please let it happen’. Everything has to line up right, and we were worried the doctor wouldn’t Holcomb compete because of his injury. That’s what happened to Steven’s team in the last Olympics. They had crashed, but finished the race only to have the doctor decide that was it.
“Winning an Olympic medal has been No. 1 on Steven’s to-do list for as long as I can remember. Four years of struggles and sacrifices after Vancouver (in the 2010 Winter Olympics), but it finally happened. (He and Holcomb) are both such champions; it’s amazing to get bronze in those circumstances.”
Nobody is a bigger supporter for Langton than his former St. John’s Prep track coach, Ray Carey, who knows what it takes after seeing his son Ray Carey become an Olympic swimmer at the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta.
“I’m thrilled for both Steve and Chris Langton (Steve’s younger brother, who is an alternate for Team USA), and their family,” said Carey. “All three boys are all incredible athletes and wonderful kids to work with.
“They loved the sport. Chris only ran in the winter for us because he played lacrosse, but both Sean and Steven competed in two seasons all four years. That family has set the most records here.
Carey recalls when Steve Langton graduated from Northeastern, he came back to the Prep with a baseball glove on.
“He’d heard some team was looking for players and intended to give it a try even though he hadn’t played baseball since the eighth grade,” said Carey. “Then he hit upon bobsled and the 20 to 30 meters he pushes requires both speed and strength. He was 6-2, 185 pounds as a senior at St. John’s, but now goes 225 pounds and is so powerful. He’s the perfect candidate for the sport.”
The USA bobsledders spent the last several months in Europe competing in World Cup events, but the Langton brothers were able to get home for a few days at Christmas.
“Steven, Sean and Chris all came and lifted with the team over Christmas vacation,” said Carey. “It was a great experience for the kids getting to know them. “Steven was hurt in his first Olympics, and for a while was undecided whether to give it up and go to law school or keep training. He went through it all to become an Olympic champion, and when the time came was poised and ready to do everything he could to help his team win medals.
“The Langtons are a wonderful family and were always so supportive of our team. They are among the top kids I ever worked with (in his 38 years at St. John’s).”
Anne Langton said her sons and their former coach have remained close, and the support from the Prep community means a lot.
“Ray Carey is a tough coach and he works his teams hard,” said Mrs. Langton. “Steven has always been self-motivated and he loved track right from the start. Ray has been wonderful to all my sons; they have a special bond.”
Today and tomorrow Holcomb, Langton, Chris Fogt and Curt Tomasevicz go for the gold in the four-man bobsled event at the Sanki Sliding Center.
“Holcomb will be ready and it will be easier for him with three people pushing,” Mrs. Langton said. “Steve told us they had a lot of interviews the day after winning the bronze (Tuesday), but after that it was back to work to be ready for the next race.”
Five members of the Peabody High track team have qualified for the USA Track and Field Championship at Harvard University tomorrow. Juniors Marcus Vieira, Ariel Ayala, Anthony Christo, John Spinale and Victor Teixeira all met the minimum qualifying mark of 40 feet in the 25-pound weight throw at the Massachusetts Scholastic Weight Throw at the Reggie Lewis Center earlier this week.
Since former Bishop Fenwick coach Jay Smith joined the Tanners’ staff, the boys have developed quickly in throws; Vieira was second with a throw of 58 feet 8 inches. For Teixeira it was his first time throwing the weight at a meet, and he qualified by an inch.
Peabody sent six juniors and two freshmen to the competition and will look to make some noise in the big meets ahead.
Jean DePlacido is a part-time writer and columnist for The Salem News. Contact her at email@example.com.