Brothers in Arms
Olympic Solidarity for Vancouver hopefuls
The Latvian siblings Andris (24) and Juris (26) Sics are one of the youngest luge duos in the world’s top 20 pairs and, with the help of Olympic Solidarity, are aiming for a medal at the Vancouver Games.
In an event where an almost telepathic understanding is needed to compete at the very top level, it is no surprise that many of the top pairings in the luge doubles are siblings. There are also the Linger brothers from Austria, the Broz brothers from the Czech Republic and the Moffats from Canada.
After finishing seventh in Turin 2006, the Sics brothers from Latvia, who, as kids, used to jump the fence to lark about on their local track, have set their sights on a podium place in Vancouver.
From naughtiness to training
Andris reveals: “As children we lived near the Sigulda luge track, which attracted our attention from early on. At first it was just a place for us to play around. We used to try to conquer the track using different sliding methods until one day the track guard caught us and put us in the hands of a qualified coach. Thus our early naughtiness grew into a serious training process that has now lasted over 15 years and made luge our life. At the age of 16 we went to the Murjani Sports High School and specialised in the luge.
Juris adds: “This is just our fifth season participating in the doubles competition. Before our Olympic debut in Turin, where we finished in seventh place, we had ridden together just for one season.”
Born for the sled
Andris and Juris decided to go for the doubles luge as they always wanted to ride together.
“Our proportions are ideal for the doubles luge,” says Andris and further explains: “We used to say that we were born for the sled! Juris’ legs are shorter and his back is longer – it perfectly fits in the sled’s body so he lies underneath. I have very long legs, but a shorter back. It is an ideal combination for the doubles.”
Feel at home
Andris’ and Juris’ focus is full on the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games and the Olympic Solidarity scholarship helps cover their travel, training and coaching costs during the preparation and qualification process. “It enables us to prepare for the Games in a much better manner which is very important to us,” says Juris, and Andris explains: “The scholarships provide us with regular medical and scientific assistance and control, and cover our costs during the training sessions and competitions. Thanks to the Olympic scholarship we can afford to feel more at home, even being far away from home.”
Granny as biggest fan
The biggest fan of the Sics brothers is nearly 90: “We have our biggest fan – our granny. That is why all our trophies are kept in her home. She has a calendar with all our competition dates and venues marked. She follows all our events closely.”
About Olympic Solidarity
Olympic Solidarity is an IOC organisation and the body that ensures that athletes with talent, regardless of their financial status, have an equal chance of reaching the Olympic Games and succeeding in the Olympic arena. It is responsible for administering and managing the National Olympic Committees’ (NOCs’) share of the revenue from the sale of broadcasting rights to the Olympic Games. Working in particular with the most needy NOCs and their Continental Associations, Olympic Solidarity uses this money to develop a range of assistance programmes. Besides individual scholarships for athletes, there are also “Team Support Grants” to support ice hockey and curling teams likely to qualify for the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games.
The total budget for the 2009-2012 Olympic Solidarity quadrennial period amounts to USD 311,000,000. Within this budget, USD 61,000,000 is earmarked to provide support to athletes.