Nicole Brungardt, the Norfolk hopeful for the 2022 Winter Olympics, suffered a concussion during training and has returned to Omaha.
She is off the U.S. women’s bobsled team training for the 2022 Winter Olympics, but she still isn’t giving up on her dream of making the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Brungardt shared that information on a blog this week. She said in part that she was looking forward to the 2019-20 bobsled season and had moved to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to train full time.
“But the reality of what happened was something less than a dream. In general, my push times and springs during team competitions weren’t as good as previous years, and from the start of the season, everything seemed to spiral down from there,” Brungardt wrote.
Her first trip down the ice at Lake Placid, New York, set the tone for the season. About 30 seconds into the run, the sled tipped over and she and a teammate were on their heads, she wrote.
She described feeling dizzy and disoriented, emotional and nauseous, angry and confused. The following weeks brought more confusion.
“I had been suffering a concussion, and I didn’t even really know,” she said. “I was forced to sit out and recover.”
When she was cleared, Brungardt said she didn’t feel at peace and was feeling anger toward the sport, something she had not felt before.
She is considering her options now while in Omaha, including possibly working as a barista at the Starbucks in the hotel in Lake Placid.
The daughter of Tim Brungardt of Norfolk and Julie Brungardt told the Daily News last October that was one of the jobs she enjoyed the most was being a barista at Lake Placid. Plus, Starbucks has an Elite Athlete Program that can financially help athletes like her, so she is trying to pursue that, she wrote.
Brungardt graduated from Norfolk Catholic, where she earned the Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal Star Female Athlete of the Year awards in 2008. Brungardt said she isn’t certain about the future, but she is continuing to work and train in Omaha.
“Right now, I plan to go back next season, but honestly, it’s up to God. He’s brought me this far and trust that I’m not done yet. He knows what He’s doing, and it seems He had different plans for me this season. My job right now is to trust Him. He’s never failed me before,” Brungardt wrote.
She also expressed thanks to everyone who has supported her so far.
Brungardt’s athletic achievements include being a four-year letter winner and defensive specialist on the Wayne State College volleyball team. She played on four teams that made the NCAA tournament.
Brungardt also competed in women’s track and field for two seasons (2011, 2012). In her first season in track, she was NSIC indoor newcomer of the year after earning all-NSIC honors in four events (champion in 4x400 relay, second in 60-meter dash and long jump and third in 200-meter dash).
Brungardt still holds four indoor school records — 60 meters, 200 meters, long jump and 4x400 relay — and three outdoor school records in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and 4x200 relay.