Leonowicz dies of heart attack
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) -- Chuck Leonowicz, the former bobsledder who won the U.S. Olympic trials in Lake Placid in 1992 and set a track record in four-man that still stands, has died.
Leonowicz, 42, died Saturday after an apparent heart attack while training on his bicycle for a triathlon, his family said.
"We're all shocked here," said his sister, Christa.
Family members said Leonowicz was training alone near his home in Saratoga Springs, felt disoriented, got off his bike and fainted. Rescue workers rushed him to Saratoga Hospital, but he never regained consciousness.
"Obviously, it puts everything else in perspective," said Matt Roy, director of the U.S. Bobsled team. "To have a former athlete still in good shape die like that is pretty shocking."
Leonowicz, who was born in Niskayuna, starred in football and baseball at Scotia-Glenville High School and at Ithaca College. He began his bobsled career in 1982 as a brakeman on the U.S. national team.
Leonowicz became a driver five years later and in March 1990 won a bronze medal in the four-man event in the World Championships in Calgary, Alberta. He also finished fourth in a World Cup race at the same venue that November.
Leonowicz also competed in the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France, piloting USA-1 to an 11th-place finish in the four-man competition.
"Chuck was a great competitor, a great member of the team," Roy said.
Leonowicz is survived by his wife, Wendy, and two children, Christopher, 5, and three-month-old Caitlin. A memorial fund has been set up for the children.
Funeral services are scheduled for Thursday at Glenville Funeral Home in suburban Schenectady.