USA bobsled team's sleds stuck in customs at LAX as Olympic trials loom

Key Points
  • An American national bobsled team's sleds are being held up at Los Angeles International Airport en route to the Olympic trials in Germany.
  • Japan and Germany have offered to let the US bobsled team use borrowed equipment.
  • But renting or borrowing new equipment could affect the team's performance.
Justin Olsen, Evan Weinstock, Steven Langton and Christopher Fogt of the United States compete in the 4-man Bobsleigh during the BMW IBSF Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Cup on November 17, 2017 in Park City, Utah.
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The U.S. national bobsled team is in Germany for World Cup Olympic trials — but their bobsleds are stuck in customs at Los Angeles International Airport.

"We are trying everything to scramble to find sleds and gear," said Lauren Gibbs, a member of the U.S. national team.

On Saturday, the team will compete in the World Cup. It's one of seven races to qualify for the Olympics.

"Crates are held up in L.A.," a U.S.A. Bobsled & Skeleton rep said. "We expect the sleds to be in Germany by Friday … if for some reason they do not arrive in time, we will rent sleds for this weekend's races."

Calls to the customs department at Los Angeles International Airport were not immediately returned.

Romania lent sleds to the U.S. team for practice, and Japan and Germany both offered sleds to use in the qualifier. But using borrowed equipment could have an impact on the team's performance.

"The trouble is, switching sleds isn't like just driving another car," said Gibbs. "Everything is set up specifically for each driver."

"Whether we rent or drive our own … we still haven't driven our sleds for this entire week and gotten used to the track," said Elana Meyers Taylor, two-time Olympic medalist and bobsled world champion.

Even if they borrow sleds, the U.S. bobsledders might only get the customary six practice runs to learn the new sled and track.

According to U.S.A. Bobsled and Skeleton, the sleds are shipped in crates as freight.

"There are a lot of people trying to help us out, and it just shows the bobsled community really is one big family, even though we compete against each other," said Gibbs.