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‘It Has Been the Hardest Year.’ U.S. Bobsled Squad Remembers Late Teammate Steven Holcomb

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Leading up to the first day of the two-man bobsled competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics, Team USA remembered the legacy left behind by late teammate Steven Holcomb.

Members of the U.S. bobsled squad spoke Saturday about how difficult it was to carry on and compete in PyeongChang following Holcomb’s passing during an interview with the Associated Press.

Holcomb died on May 6, 2017, in his room at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, New York. A toxicology report later revealed that he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.188 as well as prescription sleeping pills in his system. His family did not reveal his exact cause of death, saying Holcomb would have wanted to maintain his privacy.

“Anyone who knew Steven knew what a private person he was despite being a public figure,” his family said in a statement to the AP in June. “Our intentions were to continue to respect his privacy, even in death.”

U.S. coach Brian Shimer told the AP that Holcomb’s sudden death hit the team extremely hard. “It has been the hardest year,” he said. “The hardest year, without a doubt.”

However, pilot Nick Cunningham said the loss has inspired the team to push themselves even harder. “We’re all suffering together,” he said. “And the best way to honor that legacy is to carry it on, to always be that threat on the hill, always put in that work and honor him by what we’re doing behind the scenes.”

Holcomb was a three-time Olympic medalist.

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Write to Megan McCluskey at megan.mccluskey@time.com