VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Jamie Moriarty got the itch when he was watching the 2006 Olympics on television at his home in Winnetka, Ill.
Moriarty, a Cleveland native who had moved to Chicago's north suburbs after college, wanted somehow to extend a competitive sports career that apparently had ended two years earlier when he fractured an elbow in training camp with an Arena Football League team.
He saw the Olympic bobsled competition and heard some of the athletes were former football players and track athletes.
"I wanted something to replace football at a higher level than recreational sports," he said. "I did a little research and found out bobsled wasn't like the Olympic sports where you had to start as a child," he said.
A call to the U.S. Bobsled & Skeleton Federation, a go-ahead from his wife, Nicole, and Moriarty was off to a training camp.
"I had no idea what we had signed up for," Nicole Moriarty said with a laugh before leaving for Vancouver to watch her husband push the USA-3 sled in the Olympic four-man event that begins Friday.
They were in for four years of essentially being separated from September through March.
And of her getting lost trying to meet him at a race in Germany because she went to Winterburg, with a "u," and the track was three hours away in Winterberg, with an "e."
And of him leaving behind the operation of a company founded in 2006 to market a beer dispenser, Ubertap.
And of her, by nature a nervous person, worrying every time he goes down a bobsled run, let alone Whistler's blistering Olympic track.
It all happened so fast Moriarty and his wife of five years, who met while getting undergraduate degrees in hotel administration at Cornell, simply were swept up in the process.
Moriaty, 28, a wide receiver and safety at Cornell, did so well at the initial training camp bobsled officials immediately added him to their pool of sled pushers for the World Cup circuit.
"I was fast tracked onto the team, and I was gone," he said. "My first race ever was against guys I had watched on TV at the Olympics the previous winter."
He would live either at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid. N.Y., which has one of the two Olympic bobsled tracks in the United States, or out of a suitcase while driving between the dots on the map of the European bobsled circuit.
His wife, like Homer's Penelope, would keep the home fires burning while working as assistant to the president and CEO of Crate&Barrel.
There were times when Nicole must have wished their television had been broken during those 2006 Olympics.
"She never said it, but she might have thought it a few times," he said.
"This has been a trying four years," she admitted, "even though the experience has been awesome. I have traveled to places I never dreamed of going -- nooks and crannies in the middle of nowhere."
The only destination both cared about was Vancouver.
"From the moment I got into the sport, the Olympics was my goal," he said. "Making the World Cup team as a rookie showed it was a possibility for me.
"Still, it was a crazy dream back in 2006. Now it's one of the milestones of my life."
He has promised Nicole it would be a milestone, not a millstone. She is a little skeptical.
"I ask him every day if he is up for another four," she said. "If he wants to, I guess I could sign up again."
Especially now that she has read the fine print.