The U.S. federation had reserved the track at Winterberg, West Germany, for the U.S. Olympic trials in October. The sculpted water mammal was one of two dozen sleds—including the computer-aided designs from Michigan and Washington—shipped for testing, and Malinowski, more nervous than he had been at his first one-man show, accompanied his creation to the trials. His faith was rewarded. "Its times were right up there with the best sleds'," says Malinowski proudly. "And we didn't have Olympic crews either."
That's an understatement. Even Malinowski—all 6'4" and 220 pounds of him—squeezed into the brakeman's position for a run. Donnie Hass, an experienced driver from Martville, N.Y., also tried the sled. "I saw it and said, 'God, it's beautiful.' " says Hass. "Jerry appreciated that, you could tell. And what's more, it's fast and smooth. It's faster than the Italian sleds I've been using. When Jerry contours the bottom and customizes it for a particular driver. I think it'll be the fastest sled on the U.S. team."
In late December the bob left Syracuse again, and Malinowski watched as it was crated and carried away. He shed no tears. All his life he had seen artwork leave the studio. That's the way it goes, in both sculpting and bobsled building. The Syracuse bob and two other sleds went to Innsbruck for testing, where the three U.S. Olympic team drivers—Brent Rushlaw, Matt Roy and Randy Will—would try them out.
The drivers will continue to test the sleds well into February, and the two drivers who qualify for Olympic competition can chose their sleds just before the two-man finals, Feb. 20 and 21. The water mammal may slide in Calgary, or it may not. Whatever happens, Malinowski the artist is satisfied. He has created the most beautiful bobsled the world has ever seen.