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Youth Olympic Games athletes off to a flying start

Youth Olympic Games athletes off to a flying start
©IOC/Anna Konovalova

09/02/2014

YOG athletes put on their best performances on day one of competition of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games yesterday.

Starting with lugers Alexander Ferlazzo (AUS) and Tucker West (USA), both made it through the men’s single runs 1 and 2 putting them through to the second round of heats later on today at the Sanki Sliding Centre.

Just after the competition Young Reporter Sonali Prasad caught up with Alex, who was beaming with happiness after his performance on day one.
 
"Half a second faster than any of the runs in my training, so that's all I can ask for," the luger smiled.

This young Australian had seen very little snow before he took up luge.

"Oh, I really don't remember. I think before I took up luge, I saw snow once in Australia, and even that was man-made," he smiled.

"I belong to tropical north Queensland. It's all about your longboard when the surf is up! You mention luge and you will see eyeballs rolling."

But all thanks to an athletic mother and a pilates lesson.

"My mother met a former luge athlete and the Recruitment and Development Manager for Luge Australia in her pilates class. And that's how the buck rolled."

Fast-forward to now, Ferlazzo has travelled and competed on tracks all over the world. He represented Australia at the first ever Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria, in January 2012, finishing a creditable 19th, and later that year made history by winning bronze in a Junior World Cup – Australia’s first ever medal at this level.

All this despite no snow and training on a dry downhill track with sleds fitted with wheels.

"I had no idea what I was aiming for and I hadn't looked at anybody else's times. I was just here to see what I could do, and I am happy with it so far. I saw my time coming up to the end of my first run and couldn't wipe the smile off my face. All I want to do is complete all my runs with no regrets."

From longboard to luge, this is one creative athlete who hasn’t let anything stop him chasing his dreams!

 

Tucker West also made it successfully through the luge heats, while athlete Andreas Wellinger (GER) succeeded in the ski jumping qualification round.

Sonali Prasad

Lillehammer 2016 Photos

  • Speed Skating Men's 500m

    Austin Kleba USA competes during the Men's 500m Speed Skating race at the Winter Youth Olympic Games, Lillehammer Norway, 13 February 2016.

  • Speed Skating Men's 500m

    Gold medallist Li Yanzhe CHN (Center), silver medallist Kazuki Sakakibara JPN (Left) and bronze medallist Chung Jae Woong KOR pose on the podium after the Men's 500m Speed Skating race at the Winter Youth Olympic Games, Lillehammer Norway, 13 February 2016.

  • Speed Skating Ladies' 500m

    Moe Kumagai JPN competes during the Ladies' 500m Speed Skating race during the Winter Youth Olympic Games, Lillehammer Norway, 13 February 2016.

  • Speed Skating Ladies' 500m

    Erika Lindgren SWE competes during the Ladies' 500m Speed Skating race during the Winter Youth Olympic Games, Lillehammer Norway, 13 February 2016.

  • Speed Skating Ladies' 500m

    Mariya Gromova KAZ competes during the Ladies' 500m Speed Skating race during the Winter Youth Olympic Games, Lillehammer Norway, 13 February 2016.

  • Speed Skating Ladies' 500m

    Karolina Bosiek POL competes during the Ladies' 500m Speed Skating race during the Winter Youth Olympic Games, Lillehammer Norway, 13 February 2016.

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