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Former 49ers track star could be on course for Winter Olympics

Jamil Muhammad-Ray is on the USA Bobsled Development Team

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Jamil Muhammad-Ray has learned a lot over the last handful of years.

"That anything is possible," he said. "This journey has been very rewarding. I know there's been time where I've been confused. I don't know my purpose and I don't know what's going on. Everything just works out."

It might have taken a while for Jamil Muhammad-Ray to find his course in life, but the former Charlotte 49ers sprinter is on track.

Just maybe a different one than he thought.

"The only thing I knew about bobsledding was Cool Runnings," he said. "That's the only thing I knew. "

Muhammad-Ray is on the USA Bobsled Development Team. 

Turns out his skills honed as the former Atlantic 10 Track and Field Rookie of the Year, translated.

"Everything is all about speed and power," he said. "It translated over perfectly because the sleds being so heavy and having the speed I have it kind of works out perfectly just to throw all of that weight behind it and just take off."

Taking off.

Muhammad-Ray has done that a lot. 

He left school about five years ago to take care of his then newborn son Noah, becoming a flight attendant.

"I knew that trying to juggle school and track and working at the same time to get prepared for his arrival wasn't going to work," he said.

Somewhere along the way, the idea of bosledding was introduced. 

Charlotte's track and field coach, Bob Olesen, was in the two-man sled at the 1998 Olympics. 

Muhammed-Ray was even invited to compete on a reality show to find the next Olympian.

The coaches liked what they saw.

"They handed me a letter with Olympic rings on it, telling me they wanted me come out for rookie camp," Muhammed-Ray said. "That's how it's been ever since. I have been stuck with the team since then."

While navigating that new course of his life, Mohammed-Ray set to complete another one. 

His girlfriend Dara encouraged him to finish his degree at Charlotte.

"If it wasn't for her to be honest I probably wouldn't have gone back," he said.

Last weekend he graduated with a double major: Criminal Justice and Sociology.

Little Noah leapt in to Dad's arms.

The course seems clear now.

"Continue to train, continue to compete. We really have no idea who's actually going to make the team this year," he said. "I'm going to train through, compete against the best in the world and let the chips fall where they may."

If he doesn't make the National Team this year, the 2026 games in Italy are the goal.

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