You don't have to be from a big city with fancy sports facilities to become an Olympian. Just ask Jordan Larson and Curtis Tomasevicz.
The two former University of Nebraska athletes and Olympic medalists turned their small-town backgrounds into big-time success.
Larson, 26, grew up in Hooper, Neb., and still lives in Lincoln when she's not traveling or practicing with the national volleyball team. She was part of the U.S. women's team that won a silver medal in the 2012 Olympics in London.
Tomasevicz, 32, is from Shelby, Neb., but now splits his time between training in Colorado Springs and traveling for various competitions. His four-man bobsled team won gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Both athletes will make the trek across the state next week as part of the Livewellnebraska.com Tour.
LiveWellNebraska, The World-Herald's health and fitness website, is teaming with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska for their second statewide tour focused on making Nebraska healthier.
We caught up with the Olympians about the coolest places they've been and why it's important to get kids out to play.
Q. What got you into your sport?
Curt: I played football at Nebraska and was always working out in the weight room. There I met a girl named Amanda Morley who was into bobsledding, so she introduced me to the sport. It sounded like a fun adventure, and she convinced me it was a good idea.
Jordan: I was probably 8 years old when I started playing YMCA ball. Then I started playing year-round when I was 11 or 12.
Q. What is your fitness and nutrition routine like as a professional athlete?
Curt: I don't necessarily count calories, but my general rule is high protein, low fat and low sugar if I can. If I'm in Nebraska (as opposed to training in Colorado Springs) I do sprinting and lifting — sometimes at my high school weight room or the Devaney Center at UNL.
Jordan: In season, I'm practicing every day for about four hours — actually training with a volleyball. Then twice a week we do lifting in the gym. When I'm out of season, I work out in the gym, warming up with cardio, then doing some Olympic lifts.
Q. You travel a lot. What has been your favorite location so far?
Curt: St. Moritz in Switzerland. It's extremely high up in the Alps and they build their bobsled track out of snow. Every other track is just made out of concrete. The way they get around in sleds and cross-country skis and snowshoes is amazing. And it's just kind of their way of life.
Jordan: London was really cool — I like it there. Obviously they spoke English, which was great. And I really like Japan. It's super clean; the people are really friendly; I just think it's a really cool place.
Q. Are you excited for the LiveWell Tour?
Curt: I'm really excited to help kids get out and play. I think it's great that Jordan also comes from a small town. It gives us the opportunity to demonstrate what you can do with athletics coming from that background.
Jordan: I just want to be out there and meet some fans. I would love to see a ton of people come out and be active.
Q. What do you think about kids' health these days?
Curt: When I was growing up, my mom wouldn't let me have video games, so I was outside all the time. I know the culture has changed a bit, but it drives me crazy when kids sit around and their idea of activity is playing Wii.
Jordan: Nowadays we're so electronic-based, so it's easy to sit in front of the TV or be in front of your phone all day. I just did a color run with a bunch of friends, and it was great to see all the families getting out.
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