'The Freeze' could be on ice in the Winter Olympics

Atlanta Braves grounds crew member and former college track star Nigel Talton races a fan from the left field corner to the right field corner during Atlanta Braves “Beat The Freeze” promotion during a baseball game against the Miami Marlins Friday, June 16, 2017, in Atlanta. (AP Photo)

“The Freeze” on ice? It’s almost too perfect. But it could actually happen.

The 2017 season’s biggest phenomenon “The Freeze,” a spandex-clad runner who would race fans at SunTrust Park, is trying to take his game to the next level. And for a man called “The Freeze,” the next level could mean just one thing: the Winter Olympics.

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Of course, there are no track sports in the Winter Olympics, which means “The Freeze” is using his running prowess in service of another sport. TeamUSA.org reported that “The Freeze” participated in a “rookie push camp” put on by USA Bobsled & Skeleton in September, and will be going back in November to actually step on the ice. (He’s focusing on skeleton, so please put all your “Cool Runnings” jokes away.)

“The Freeze” isn’t his real name, of course. (Though that would be seriously amazing.) His name is Nigel Talton, and when he’s not outrunning fans on the SunTrust Park warning track, he’s a member of the Atlanta Braves grounds crew. Talton has never tried bobsledding or the skeleton before, but he’s willing to learn, as he told Karen Price of TeamUSA.org.

“If I have the chance to make (an Olympic team) it will be great, but for right now I’m just getting my feet wet, getting a foot in the door and learning the sport,” said Talton, 26, of Fort Valley, Georgia.

Talton definitely has athletic experience, though. He was on the track team at Iowa Wesleyan and broke their 100-meter record, and participated 60-meter at the 2013 US indoor championships. But when Talton was identified as a candidate for their rookie camp, no one knew about his background. Price discovered that the only thing that head of recruitment Mike Dionne knew was what he’d seen on a video clip.

“It was that clip that’s all over now where the guy falls at the end and (Talton) just comes from so far behind to beat this guy,” Dionne said. “So of course all of our initial thoughts were that we have to get this guy to try out for the bobsledding and skeleton team.”

That’s right. Talton could one day be an Olympian because of this viral video.

The Internet is truly a wondrous thing.

Talton is a busy guy these days. He’s got another job in addition to his job with the Braves, he’s taking classes at a local college, and he’s hoping to start serious track training again. (Running races as “The Freeze” apparently isn’t serious enough training if you want to compete at the 2018 indoor world championships.) And now he’s adding skeleton training to the mix. But Talton has the right attitude about all his new opportunities.

“I want to inspire others not to give up on their dreams. You fail if you don’t try. I’m just trying to chase my dreams and not give up.”

Not many people can say that their dream includes going from grounds crew member to spandex-clad ballpark entertainer to Winter Olympian. Actually, Talton is the only guy who can say that. And it looks like he’s well on his way.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher