The Olympic sport of skeleton is not for the faint of heart.
Sprinting down an icy track, diving on a tiny sled head first, rocketing toward the bottom at speeds of upwards of 90 mph -- what kind of person would subject themselves to such danger for Olympic gold?
His name is Matt Antoine.
In 2002, Antoine was just like the rest of us, watching the Olympics on TV. The sport of skeleton caught his eye, and a year later Antoine headed to Lake Placid, New York to give it a try.
“You’re kind of at the mercy of the track your first few times down,” Antoine said. “After the first run I knew this was something I wanted to pursue and I was going to keep going after.”
He was hooked, and although he was cut from his first skeleton camp, Antoine kept sprinting down that icy track toward an Olympic medal.
As a member of Team USA during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Antoine took home bronze – the first skeleton medal for an American in 12 years.
“It was an amazing experience in 2014, especially having family members there,” Antoine said. “Being an Olympic athlete, having your support system of your family … it’s not just you, it’s about them as well.
Antoine said sharing that moment with his support system meant “just as much or more to them than it did for me.”
Now, nearly a decade and a half after his first run, the Phoenix resident is preparing for his last.
“I’ve always approached the sport that it could end tomorrow and so in my prep for 2018 I’m definitely looking at it like it’s probably my last Olympics,” he said.