Airman 1st Class heads to compete on USA Skeleton team in Beijing

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Airman 1st Class Kelly Curtis, U.S. Air Force world class athlete, poses for a photo at Aviano Air Base, Italy, Jan. 18, 2022. Curtis is a member of the 2022 Beijing Olympics. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Noah Sudolcan)


By Senior Airman Noah Sudolcan

31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy (AFNS) —  

Pulling five gravities is just a normal part of Airman 1st Class Kelly Curtis’s day. Racing head-first down icy slopes, reaching upwards of 80 mph, Curtis is a member of the USA Skeleton team headed to compete in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Curtis, U.S. Air Force world class athlete, has been performing Skeleton for seven seasons and competing for five. Curtis says her favorite part is getting to include family and friends who have been supportive of her endeavor for years.

“The monotony of the day-in/day-out grind with just my teammates might be starting to pay off,” Curtis said. “Now my family and friends can see what it is I actually do in a high-quality broadcast.”

Curtis started out as a heptathlete, a combination of seven different track and field events.

“During driving school, I saw and slid Skeleton for the first time and was intrigued right away,” Curtis said. “After completing graduate school, I joined the USA Bobsled team for a season before switching to Skeleton full time.”

Curtis recently found out the years of hard work paid off, when she received the news that she made the Olympic team.

“I couldn’t believe it, I was such a long shot with this being my rookie season on the World Cup level and competing on all foreign tracks, some for my first time,” Curtis said. “I knew everything had to go right in my final race to qualify me; it’s still surreal that it did.”

The World Cup usually consists of eight races spread between North America and Europe but was limited to solely Europe this season.

“I had to win the final race to be named to my first World Cup team and was able to deliver on the day,” Curtis said.