KENNESAW, Ga. -- The study lounge is so quiet you can hear the tick-tick-tick of the heater kicking on. At a round table in the center of the room, Nigel Talton is huddled over a stack of books. He is a man on a mission.
“My main goal is to finish college,” Talton said.
He is close. Talton is on schedule to graduate from Kennesaw State University in December.
“I’m ready to be done.”
There is an irony of the quiet and stillness surrounding Talton as he studies. He says when he must stop to study he feels the frenetic pace of his life the most.
“Life is a series of long days and long weeks for me,” he smiles. “But, I know it is going to be worth it.”
Talton is 26 years old. He’s balancing his college classes, two jobs and constant training. He ran for Kennesaw’s track team and still spends hours every day in the gym.
His schedule is a heavy load, but has brought opportunities he never imagined. Bigger destinations are already in sight.
Nigel Talton says he has learned that nothing replaces hard work. He must remind himself of that when he goes to work his overnight shift every night.
“I go in from midnight to 7 a.m., then come home and take a 2-hour nap,” he explains.
There is no time for a full night’s sleep before he heads off to a day of classes. Next stop is the gym or the track where you’ll find him running. Fast. Which brings us to Talton’s second job.
“I work on the field crew for the Atlanta Braves,” ge said humbly. It’s only with some prodding that he adds that he is also the most recognized entertainer for the team.
He is “The Freeze” and racing Braves fans is changing his life. “It’s fun chasing them down one at a time and beating them.” He smiles as he pulls the blue Freeze costume out of his backpack. “It’s so much fun to have an alter-ego.”
Atlanta Braves' The Freeze
11Alive Anchor Cheryl Preheim asks, “Is it bigger and better than you thought?” He nods. “I never thought it would blow up like this.”
He says it’s an adrenaline rush and humbling as well. “All these kids sent in pictures at Halloween of them dressing up like me,” he said.
Video of The Freeze giving fans huge head starts and him still beating them at the ballpark has been shared all over the world. He’s heard from professional athletes about his speed. (He says he runs a 4.2 second 40.)
His speed caught the attention of USA Bobsled and Skeleton. The coaches reached out to him to invite him to train at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, New York.
“I was speechless,” he said. “My main goal to represent team USA, to wear the red white and blue.”
The key to successful sliders is speed and strength, so Talton is a perfect fit. He did so well at the first try-out that he is going back for another training week in Lake Placid this month.
“To be around the Olympians is amazing,” Talton said. “It is a blessing to go there to train and then be invited back.”
He is a young man born to run towards big goals.
“I’m going to keep working hard, running fast, entertaining the team and be on a quest to make an Olympic team one day.”